A nine year old boy is safe and well after going on a journey through the baggage conveyor system at Minneapolis–Saint Paul International Airport on Saturday authorities said. A spokesperson for the airport said the boy “dove” onto the conveyor but his parents didn’t immediately realise their child had gone missing as he disappeared into the baggage system.
The incident started in the check-in hall of Terminal 1 at MSP when the boy arrived at the airport with his parents in a much larger group of around 20 people. It wasn’t immediately clear how the boy evaded staff to get onto the conveyor system and go into the inner workings of the airport without being noticed.
“There was a lot of confusion because there were so many people in the group,” the airport spokesperson told a local news station. “They were all checking their bags and putting their own bags on the conveyors, so it took a second for them to realize he was missing,” the spokesperson continued.
Thankfully, airport police sprung into action as soon as his parents realized their son had gone missing and could be in the baggage system.
The airport said officers retrieved the boy within minutes and found him safe and uninjured before returning him to his parents.
An internal review is already underway to understand how this incident could be allowed to happen and to prevent something similar happening in the future.
According to sensor manufacturer SICK, the drives, hatches, and sorter systems in a baggage handling system can pose a “significant danger to people” especially young children who might intentionally try to breach safeguards out of curiosity.
In a similar incident in 2019, a toddler managed to climb into the baggage system at Atlanta International Airport and ended up with a broken hand. SICK suggests airports install sensors that can detect objects that aren’t luggage and then lock down the system.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently used by some of the biggest names in journalism.