heathrow airport

Police Investigate How 12-Year-Old Boy Slipped Through Security and Boarded Flight at Heathrow Airport

The 12-year-old boy was traveling unaccompanied and did not have travel documents. But he was still able to board a flight to Los Angeles.

A 12-year-old boy was able to get through airport security and board a British Airways flight from London to Los Angeles on Sunday without a ticket or travel documents, prompting a police investigation at Heathrow Airport.

The boy, who was not a U.K. national and believed by passengers to be Dutch, was traveling without his parents when he was discovered on the flight by cabin crew, who asked for his boarding pass. He was not able to provide one and refused to leave the plane or speak about where his bags were, leading the staff to call police to escort him off the flight, ABC News reported.

The 12-year-old was “believed to have arrived at Heathrow as a transit passenger,” a London police spokesman told The Telegraph, a British newspaper.

After the boy was taken back to the terminal, security staff had to clear the plane, delaying it for over four hours, according to The Telegraph. The flight eventually took off about five hours after its original departure time.

In a statement, British Airways apologized to customers for the delays, adding that the safety of passengers and crew is always their “top priority.”

“Everyone who had boarded the aircraft had been subject to security checks,” the airline said. “We conducted additional precautionary screening as soon as this issue came to light and we are assisting the police with their inquiries.”

Heathrow Airport said is also assisting police and British Airways to “understand how an unauthorized passenger” boarded the aircraft, according to a statement.

“The individual did not represent a security risk and, purely as a precaution, the aircraft in question was re-screened,” a Heathrow spokesman told The Telegraph. “We apologise for the disruption and will continue working closely with the authorities and our airline partners to keep the airport safe.”

Heathrow is also facing widespread concerns about cancellations and passenger security this summer, as airport workers plan to strike in July and August after their request for a pay increase was rejected.

About the Author

Haley Samsel is an Associate Content Editor for the Infrastructure Solutions Group at 1105 Media.

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