Monday, August 04, 2008

Something out of "Home Alone"

A 4.5-year-old girl asked a policeman in Ben-Gurion International Airport “where are my parents,” after realizing she was unable to find them. Police acted promptly and in a short time realized that the parents boarded a flight for Paris with 4 of their 5 children, forgetting their youngest in the airport.
The family, numbering 7 persons, arrived at the airport with 18 pieces of luggage according to Sun Dor Airlines officials, reportedly telling airline employees they are leaving Israel for good.
For reasons that are not known, the family was running late as they made their way to the gate and the gate official passes did not realize that the parents handed them seven boarding passes while only six people got onto the plane. One of the employees of the airport’s duty free shops told police he noticed the little girl wandering around on her own, later realizing she was left behind.
Policeman Ofir Ochaiyon explained the “little girl, a really cute girl, began pulling on my trousers asking, ‘where are my parents?’”
Ofir added it was fortunate that the little girl was extremely intelligent and calm, assisting him in determining exactly what was taking place. “I even offered her ice cream” he explained, “but she responded that her parents told her not to eat anything that does not have a badatz hechsher.” He eventually found her ices with an acceptable hechsher and she gladly accepted the well-intentioned gift.
Sarit Ben-Eden, a policewoman in the airport station explained that the girl provided her with the names of her parents, but she was getting scared and began to cry while waiting in the station. While the announcement of the lost child was aired on the airport’s public address system, no one responded. After Ben-Eden checked with passport control police, she was shocked to learn that her parents and her siblings had already cleared passport control and made their way to their flight to Paris.
Passport Control Chief Inspector Amnon Shmueli contacted Son Dor, requesting flight officials verify if the family was indeed on the flight. To his amazement, the parents and other children had taken off for Paris, forgetting the little girl. It was only some 40 minutes into the flight after the captain called the mother to the front of the plane was she made aware that one of her children was missing.
“The parents were in shock” airline officials report, adding they sat speechless in their seats, unable to understand how such an event was permitted to occur without taking notice.
They parents were informed the girl would be arriving on an El Al flight to Paris two hours later. Upon their arrival in Charles de Gaulle International Airport they immediately went to the El Al area to wait for her. Eventually, they were reunited.
Ben-Gurion International Airport Chief Yigal Shabtai stated that when the parents return to Israel, they will be taken for questioning and they may face charges of endangering a minor. Son Dor explains that the fact that flight personnel did not take notice of the missing passenger was a most unfortunate and extremely rare occurrence.

(Yechiel Spira – YWN Israel)