Urgent investigation launched after 11-year-old boy flies alone to Rome without passport or boarding pass

 

Ministers have launched an urgent investigation following a catalogue of security errors which allowed a boy of 11 to fly alone to Rome after boarding a flight at Manchester Airport without a passport, boarding card or money.

Airport staff have been suspended after Liam Corcoran evaded five security checks and boarded the Jet2.com flight unaccompanied. The “stowaway” was only discovered when concerned passengers alerted the flight Captain.

The Wythenshawe boy, who had run away from his mother at a Manchester shopping centre three miles from the airport, was returned safely to his family, at the conclusion of his 3,000 mile round trip.

Justine Greening, the Transport secretary, said: "I take any breach of security, very, very seriously. So we are now investigating with Manchester Airport and, indeed the airline, to find out exactly what happened.”

A spokesperson for Jet2.com said: “We are fully investigating the incident as a matter of urgency and the staff involved have been suspended during this investigation.”

Liam’s adventure began when he evaded his mother and made his way to Terminal 1 at the airport, which was packed with holidaymakers. The boy, said to have a keen interest in planes and buses, “tail-gated” a family group as they passed through security.

He was scanned but security failed to realise he was on his own and had no boarding card. He headed to the gate where passengers were boarding the Monday afternoon Jet2.com flight LS791 to Rome. Liam passed through a further security check at the gate without being asked to show either a passport or a boarding card.

Cabin crew failed to check whether he had a boarding-card stub when he boarded the Boeing plane. It is believed that the crew failed to carry out an accurate headcount after Liam strapped himself into a spare seat.

The pilot, alerted by suspicious passengers, radioed back to Manchester, where police informed the boy’s mother that her son was safe - but on his way to Rome. He remained on board after landing at Fiumicino Airport and was returned on the next flight back.

Five members of staff  working for Jet2.com have been suspended from duty while the investigation takes place.

The return flight was delayed by 80 minutes while the plane's crew were questioned by Italian border police. On this occasion, the elusive Corcoran was accompanied by airline staff who were sat with him.

Passenger Sarah Swayne, 26, from Nantwich, said: “He was very talkative and seemed quite un-fazed by it all. He was just sat there chatting away about how he’d been trying to run away from home. He seemed quite innocent really and I don’t think it had sunk in how serious the situation was.”

A Manchester Airport spokesman said: “This extremely serious matter is now being urgently investigated. It is clear that documentation has not been checked correctly at security and the boarding gate.

“The boy went through full security screening so the safety of passengers and the aircraft was never compromised.”

Ms Greening said the situation was “an unusual and serious breach and we are keen to find out what has gone on.”

Liam’s father, Aaron Fort, 34, said the boy had walked to the airport after his mother took him to a swimming lesson in Wythenshawe, during which he had become distressed and required the help of a lifeguard.

Fort said: “He must have got changed and given his mother the slip and then walked from the baths in Wythenshawe to the airport. Once there he seems to have mixed with some other children and followed them on the plane. I thought people should be counted on an off but that must not have been the case.” Fort added: “He has never had a passport, never been to Rome and never been abroad.”

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Tradewind Recruitment: English Teacher

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: My client is an excellent, large partially ...

Tradewind Recruitment: Science Teacher

£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: I am currently working in partnersh...

Tradewind Recruitment: Year 3 Primary Teacher

£100 - £150 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Year 3 Teacher Birmingham Jan 2015...

Ashdown Group: Lead Web Developer (ASP.NET, C#) - City of London

£45000 - £50000 per annum + Excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Lead Web Develo...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee