- Boy says getting on flight was easy and that no one had asked him for anything but just smiled
- Got through five security checks without showing passport or boarding pass
- Thought to have slipped through after ‘tail-gating’ a family through terminal
- Father says his son, who walked three miles to the airport, has some ‘learning problems’
- Allowed to board flight to Rome without being stopped
- Gaffe discovered after worried passengers alerted flight crew
James Tozer and Liz Hull
08:43, 25 July 2012
09:31, 26 July 2012
Runaway: Liam Corcoran made it to Italy and back again after slipping away from his mother at Manchester airport
The 11-year-old who manged to sneak onto a plane without a ticket or passport and fly to Italy said it was ‘easier than doing my homework.’
Liam Corcoran slipped away from his mother in Wythenshawe, caught a bus to the airport three miles away and boarded a plane bound for Rome without anyone questioning what he was doing.
Speaking to The Sun about how he had managed the feat, the schoolboy said it had been easy.
‘I didn’t have anything on me and no one asked me for anything,’ he said.
He added that he had needed to go to the toilet and had simply kept walking until he ended up on the Jet2 plane.
He said: ‘I went in the toilet and sat there but I couldn’t get out. Then – whoosh! – we were going up in the sky.’
It was only when Liam began boasting
that he had run away from home as the plane cruised over France that
other passengers alerted cabin crew.
It was too late for the plane to turn around so it flew on to Rome. Liam stayed in the airport with police and airline staff for nearly two hours before being put on a flight home.
Liam, who has learning difficulties, said he did not think much of the Italian capital.
‘The police were there. It was too big and scary on my own. I just wanted to go home and see my mum,’ he said.
As well as causing several hours of
panic for Liam’s mother Mary, 29, the astonishing breach of security at
Manchester Airport just before the start of the Olympics raised urgent
questions about Britain’s border protection.
Ms Corcoran said: ‘I can’t get my head around it. How did he get that far without anyone asking him one question? I just keep thinking how easy it would be for a terrorist. It’s unbelievable.’
Yesterday Liam’s father, Aaron Fort,
34, spoke of his disbelief that no one at the airport had questioned
what an unaccompanied child was doing there.
He revealed that Liam – described as
‘a handful’ who has run away in the past – had never been on a plane
before and does not own a passport.
Mr Fort said: ‘Liam told me the
first time he knew he was in a bit of trouble is when the plane started
to rise off the ground. He just did what the stewardesses told him and
sat in his seat with his belt on.’
Once other passengers raised the alarm, flight crew radioed details of the stowaway to colleagues on the ground.
Liam Corcoran, 11, was allowed to board a Jet2 flight to Rome without being asked for his passport or boarding pass
On arrival at Fiumicino Airport in
Rome, Liam was kept on board while the aircraft was prepared for the
return journey. Finally, eight hours after taking off from Manchester,
he was reunited with his relieved mother.
With airport security meant to be on
heightened alert amid fears of a terrorist attack on the Olympics,
Transport Secretary Justine Greening last night said: ‘I treat security
breaches very, very seriously, so we are now reviewing urgently with
Manchester Airport, and the airline, exactly what happened.’
Meanwhile, airline Jet2 said it had
suspended three employees who had waved Liam through and was now
carrying out headcounts on all flights.
Liam’s father explained that his son
had been swimming with his mother in Wythenshawe, Manchester, when his
adventure began on Tuesday.
An full investigation is underway at Manchester Airport after the security lapse
Mr Fort, who is separated from Liam’s
mother and lives in Blackpool, said his son had to be rescued by a
‘That sort of incident would have worried him,’ the charity
shop worker added. ‘He has some learning problems and copes differently
from other children. He must have got changed and given his mother the
After his bus journey, Liam wandered
into Terminal 1 at around 1pm and apparently ‘tailgated’ another family
preparing to go through to security.
An airport source said: ‘Often one
parent has the boarding card for all their children, so the security
guard should count the cards and the children, but obviously they’ve
failed to notice there was one extra.’
Journey’s end: Liam managed to get to Fiumicino airport in Rome
He stressed that Liam went through scanners which would have picked up anything suspicious he was carrying.
Once through to the departures, he
went to the first gate he could find. He is thought to have again
mingled with families, and Jet2 staff failed to notice he had no
documents as he took a seat.
A passenger on the return flight,
Sarah Swayne, 26, from Nantwich, said: ‘He was very talkative and seemed
quite unfazed by it all.’
Liam’s mother was not at her
top-floor housing association flat in Newall Green yesterday, but a
neighbour said: ‘I think he’s going to be a bit of a hero among his
friends for managing it.’
A relative added: ‘Liam’s an
attention seeker, he runs away constantly. But he’s never done anything
like this. The little monster went off to Rome.’
A spokesman for Manchester Airport
said the breach was being ‘urgently investigated’, but added: ‘The boy
went through full security screening so the safety of passengers was
A representative for Jet2 said no
headcount had been carried out on Liam’s flight as passengers had
boarded via an airbridge, but crew had now been ordered to perform one
on all flights and three staff had been suspended. She added: ‘At no
time was there a safety risk.’
In total, Liam escaped five checks:
security staff should have checked his boarding pass before screening,
Jet2 staff should have taken his boarding pass and checked his passport
at the gate, flight crew in the cabin should have checked his boarding
pass stub, and a passenger headcount should have been carried out before
Earlier this month police criticised
security at Manchester Airport after an armed robbery suspect being
flown back to the UK for questioning escaped through a luggage chute.
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Such a big play on security these days,but most of its very hollow and intended to reassure the passengers more than really deter a terrorist at the airport. I’m definitely no security expert ,but can see holes in security constantly,whilst at the same time viewing unnecessary procedures we all have to follow like sheep. All in the name of security which means we can never question it and that’s without starting on the costs involved. I also feel for the airline staff suspended over this matter,as the second and more pressing concern after security is to get everyone on board and sat down as soon as possible,so the plane catches it’s take off slot.Hence all the adults are veted for boarding cards ,whilst children are often just ushered through.
I fly regularly to palma in mallorca and last year from Newcastle with Jet 2, I noticed as the doors on the aircraft were closing(and the head check had been done) the lady who was beside me , her online boarding pass said Malaga….I pointed out we were going to Palma, and the crew managed to get her off in time..3 weeks later on the same flight, the boarding passes at the airport(and since) were checked thoroughly….wonder why??
It’s amazing that naughty boys in England all have ‘learning problems’
it’s a laugh the head of Manchester airport saying Jet 2 staff have been suspended….your in control of the airport, you need sacked mate!!
the boy could have been taken through/abducted by any odd family, then once out of the jurisdiction how would the mother got the child back if it wasn’t just an accident??
My. Good luck to the parents in the years to come ’cause they got a chancer here.
I will get red arrows for this but really the only reason this blunder happened was because the boy is white. If he was black or Asian, he wouldn’t have gotten past check point 1. He looked like he belong. This is the problem with racial profiling and how it is taught in high security places like airports. They are taught to search out what looks glaringly different and never taught to look for problems in what they accept as the norm.
What would happen I wonder if a terrorist plotting dark deeds against Western Society reads this and decides to indoctrinate an 11 year old of his own ?
good job he was not a terrorist, just shows how lax the security really is at the aiports, too many people passing through and not enough staff to control them,
He’s a brave boy! I wouldn’t have done that, I was more shy and worried to much at eleven!
Guarantee this never happened, this story has been put here to justify frisk downs and other invasive checks on kids, please dont be silly enough to fall for this rubbish and demand these control systems, thats the worst thing you can do.
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