A four-year-old girl was left behind by her parents at Ben-Gurion Airport on Sunday afternoon as her family made its way to Paris. Only after taking off, the parents were informed by a flight attendant that they had forgotten one of their five children in Israel.
The girl joined her family after taking a later flight to Paris, accompanied by a stewardess. The parents are expected to be questioned by the police upon their return to Israel on suspicion of negligence.
The incident took place on one of the busiest days at Ben-Gurion Airport this year, with many families leaving on their summer vacation. At around 2:45 pm, a Border Police officer spotted a weeping girl wandering the departures hall on her own.
The policewoman, Sagit Ben-Eden, asked the girl about her parents' whereabouts. The child said she didn’t know. Additional police officers alerted to the area managed to get the girl to give them her last name and her parents' names.
To their surprise, the officers learned that the parents had left Israel half an hour earlier on a San Dor flight to Paris. The child was left behind.
A further inquiry revealed that the parents were late to catch the flight to Paris and checked in hastily. For an unknown reason, they ascended the plane with only four of their children, forgetting the four-year-old child at the airport.
'This is something I've never seen before'
"We tried to reach the parents the moment we discovered they were on the flight, but the plane was already on the runway," Superintendent Amnon Shmueli, commander of the airport's Passport Control told Ynet.
"We then contacted the pilot, and when he confirmed that the family was on the plane, they were informed that they had forgotten their daughter and that she was at the airport."
Following the incident, San Dor decided to send the child to her parents in Paris on a later flight accompanied by a stewardess.
"When the parents return to Israel, we will question them on suspicion of negligence," Shmueli added.
"I've been on this job for many years, but I've never seen someone forget their child at the airport," he said. "I've seen people return to collect forgotten equipment, but such an incident never happened before."