It’s fairly run-of-the-mill to forget your holiday book, your “good sandals,” or your brand-new sunglasses while getting ready to leave on holiday. But to forget an infant is a memory lapse of nightmarish proportions.
A flight from Jeddah in Saudi Arabia had to make an emergency turn back to the airport after a mother on board alerted cabin crew that she’d left her baby at the airport. Flight SV832, headed to Kuala Lumpur, made the emergency request after the frantic mom revealed she had left her child at the boarding area of the terminal.
A video of the pilot relaying the incident to incredulous air traffic control staff received over 50,000 views from shocked, delighted, and thoroughly entertained social media users (necessary spoiler: the baby is OK!).
The pilot’s exasperation is evident: “May God be with us,” he relays. “Can we come back or what?” An ATC operative then audibly replies: “This flight is requesting to come back … a passenger forgot her baby in the waiting area.” They then add, in sympathy for the forgotten tot: “The poor thing!”
In order to clarify the unprecedented details, the pilot is asked to repeat himself. “We told you, a passenger left her baby in the terminal and refuses to continue the flight,” he says. This time, mercifully, the aircraft gets the go-ahead, and ATC staff confirm: “Head back to the gate. This is totally a new one for us!”
A witness to the events, Fahad M. AlBarrak, shared original audio on Twitter and insisted that the baby hadn’t been left alone. He claimed that the baby had been left with its sibling, a sister, who had walked onto the wrong transport vehicle at the airport terminal, had headed towards the wrong plane, and had therefore missed the flight.
The devastated mother, realizing what had happened, insisted that the plane turn around.
According to flight radar websites, flight SV832 to Kuala Lumpur was delayed by 54 minutes after the bizarre incident occurred, but no more information has been released about the circumstances surrounding the baby’s misadventure.
Alarmingly, it’s not the first time a child has gone missing at a very inopportune moment at an airport. The Daily Mail reported on a similarly traumatic event in Germany, in October of 2018: after returning from holiday, a couple left their daughter behind at an airport in Stuttgart. The bemused 5-year-old was soon found by police, wandering around in the airport terminal on her own.
Apparently, her parents had driven off separately. Each believed that their daughter was in the other parent’s car.
The year previously, as reported by The Independent, an alarming photo went viral. The photo depicted a woman who deposited her baby on the floor of an airport terminal in Colorado in order to make a phone call. The mom in question, Molly Lensing, from Illinois, was quick to defend herself. She hit back at the haters by explaining that she had been stranded and panic-stricken when the photo was snapped. A technical mishap with her airline left her, and other passengers, in limbo for a full 20 hours. Her baby daughter was 2 months old.
“Anastasia had been held or in her carrier for many hours,” Lensing justified. “My arms were tired. She needed to stretch. And I had to communicate with all the family members wondering where … we were!”
Lensing implored people to have sympathy and be aware of context before making judgments. Mishaps are multitudinous, but babies, we have one piece of very solid advice for you: keep an eye on your parents!