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Sunday, August 03, 2008

'Home Alone,' Israeli style

This is not my usual fare.

A three-year old girl was found wandering alone among the duty-free shops in Ben Gurion Airport on Sunday afternoon. After watching her wander from shop to shop for half an hour, security personnel realized she had no adult supervision. It turns out that her parents had forgotten her when they got on a chartered jet to Paris with their four other children.
Police at Ben-Gurion noticed the wandering child among the thousands of passengers at Ben-Gurion Airport and managed to calm her down and identify her. After looking for her name in passenger lists, police realized that the parents' Sun D'or flight to Paris had already taken off.

According to police, the parents did not realize that one of their children is missing until the pilot of the plane was notified. The airplane staff counted the passengers and realized that one of the passengers indeed was missing. Eventually they informed the parents about their forgotten child.

The child was flown to Paris, where her parents were waiting for her, later on Sunday on an El Al flight. She was escorted by a special cabin attendant.

The parents will be questioned by police on their return to Israel.
Unless they can show that the parents had a bad intent (and if they had, I would guess that they would have lost the child before security rather than after), I don't see much point in a criminal prosecution, but I would have made the parents come back to Israel to get her. Far more effective punishment in my book and would have meant that El Al (which owns Sun D'or) would not have sent another 'cabin attendant' on a junket to Paris.

And yes, as you might imagine, I have flown with children before.... A 3-year old is old enough to occupy a seat and should definitely have been missed both by the parents and by the cabin crew.


At 11:24 PM, Blogger Mother Effingby said...

These people are French? I can't believe it. First of all, they have more than one kid, second of all, they're married, third of all, it was a little kid they forgot. If it would have been Grand Mere or Grand Pere, and they were left alone in an unairconditioned hotel, then I would believe they were French.

At 11:39 PM, Blogger Lois Koenig said...

I agree with you. The parents should have been made to return to Israel with their 4 other kids, and to then take the 5 children back to France, or stay home and try to figure out how they could forget a 3 year old..

No matter how frazzled parents are traveling with kids? This just should not ever happen.

/I can imagine the welcome awaiting them when they do return home from their vacation. The grandparents will be so proud.

At 11:55 PM, Blogger Findalis said...

Are they crazy? How can you not notice a missing child. I know people with 8 or more kids and would have known if one of them went missing in a heartbeat. They would have gone crazy looking for her.

This child and their others should be taken away from these selfish, uncaring parents.

At 1:21 AM, Blogger lance said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 1:22 AM, Blogger lance said...

Hey, they had a super majority of there kids. /sarc

But seriously, I'd make the parents come home to fetch the 3 year old, and pay for the extra flight. Any who paid for the girl's duty free purchases anyway?

If she was headed to Paris, perhaps some perfume?

At 7:24 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

It had a happy ending. In Israel, no child ever gets lost!

At 7:25 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

While I could never imagine this happening to us with our kids (and we have had hectic travels over the years), I do know people who are absolutely womderful homemakers who are nevertheless absent-minded enough to theoretically have this happen to them.

Such people are usually extremly dumb or absolutely brilliant. Yes, I confess to being nothing but the average Joe.

At 10:35 AM, Blogger Carl in Jerusalem said...

Sra Scherzophrenic,

As far as I can tell they are Israeli. The police are due to question them on their return here.

All of you,

We had an incident in our neighborhood several years ago where parents went to a separate swimming beach up north with 7-8 kids. The father thought the mother had the 18-month old; the mother thought the father had the 18-month old. You can guess the rest. The State didn't press criminal charges in the end.

It happens in large families when the parents split up. But it shouldn't happen when both parents are together and are supposed to have all the kids and given the circumstances of this case, the parents (or at least one of them) should have had to come back to get the kid.


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