So much for Olympic security...
The 11-year-old who manged to sneak onto a plane without a ticket or passport and fly to Italy said it was 'easier than doing my homework.'
Liam Corcoran slipped away from his mother in Wythenshawe, caught a bus to the airport three miles away and boarded a plane bound for Rome without anyone questioning what he was doing.
Speaking to The Sun about how he had managed the feat, the schoolboy said it had been easy.
'I didn't have anything on me and no one asked me for anything,' he said.He added that he had needed to go to the toilet and had simply kept walking until he ended up on the Jet2 plane.
He said: 'I went in the toilet and sat there but I couldn't get out. Then - whoosh! - we were going up in the sky.'
It was only when Liam began boasting that he had run away from home as the plane cruised over France that other passengers alerted cabin crew.
It was too late for the plane to turn around so it flew on to Rome. Liam stayed in the airport with police and airline staff for nearly two hours before being put on a flight home.
Liam, who has learning difficulties, said he did not think much of the Italian capital.
'The police were there. It was too big and scary on my own. I just wanted to go home and see my mum,' he said.
As well as causing several hours of panic for Liam’s mother Mary, 29, the astonishing breach of security at Manchester Airport just before the start of the Olympics raised urgent questions about Britain’s border protection.
Ms Corcoran said: 'I can't get my head around it. How did he get that far without anyone asking him one question? I just keep thinking how easy it would be for a terrorist. It's unbelievable.'
Yesterday Liam’s father, Aaron Fort, 34, spoke of his disbelief that no one at the airport had questioned what an unaccompanied child was doing there.
He revealed that Liam – described as ‘a handful’ who has run away in the past – had never been on a plane before and does not own a passport.
Mr Fort said: ‘Liam told me the first time he knew he was in a bit of trouble is when the plane started to rise off the ground. He just did what the stewardesses told him and sat in his seat with his belt on.’
Once other passengers raised the alarm, flight crew radioed details of the stowaway to colleagues on the ground.
On arrival at Fiumicino Airport in Rome, Liam was kept on board while the aircraft was prepared for the return journey.
Finally, eight hours after taking off from Manchester, he was reunited with his relieved mother.
With airport security meant to be on heightened alert amid fears of a terrorist attack on the Olympics, Transport Secretary Justine Greening last night said: ‘I treat security breaches very,
very seriously, so we are now reviewing urgently with Manchester Airport, and the airline, exactly what happened.’
Meanwhile, airline Jet2 said it had suspended three employees who had waved Liam through and was now carrying out headcounts on all flights.
Liam’s father explained that his son had been swimming with his mother in Wythenshawe, Manchester, when his adventure began on Tuesday.
Mr Fort, who is separated from Liam’s mother and lives in Blackpool, said his son had to be rescued by a lifeguard.
‘That sort of incident would have worried him,’ the charity shop worker added. ‘He has some learning problems and copes differently from other children. He must have got changed and given his mother the slip.’
After his bus journey, Liam wandered into Terminal 1 at around 1pm and apparently ‘tailgated’ another family preparing to go through to security.
An airport source said: ‘Often one parent has the boarding card for all their children, so the security guard should count the cards and the children, but obviously they’ve failed to notice there was one extra.’
He stressed that Liam went through scanners which would have picked up anything suspicious he was carrying.
Once through to the departures, he went to the first gate he could find. He is thought to have again mingled with families, and Jet2 staff failed to notice he had no documents as he took a seat.
A passenger on the return flight, Sarah Swayne, 26, from Nantwich, said: ‘He was very talkative and seemed quite unfazed by it all.’
Liam’s mother was not at her top-floor housing association flat in Newall Green yesterday, but a neighbour said: ‘I think he’s going to be a bit of a hero among his friends for managing it.’
A relative added: ‘Liam’s an attention seeker, he runs away constantly. But he’s never done anything like this. The little monster went off to Rome.’
A spokesman for Manchester Airport said the breach was being ‘urgently investigated’, but added: ‘The boy went through full security screening so the safety of passengers was never
A representative for Jet2 said no headcount had been carried out on Liam’s flight as passengers had boarded via an airbridge, but crew had now been ordered to perform one on all flights and three staff had been suspended. She added: ‘At no time was there a safety risk.’
In total, Liam escaped five checks: security staff should have checked his boarding pass before screening, Jet2 staff should have taken his boarding pass and checked his passport at the gate, flight crew in the cabin should have checked his boarding pass stub, and a passenger
headcount should have been carried out before take-off.
Earlier this month police criticised security at Manchester Airport after an armed robbery suspect being flown back to the UK for questioning escaped through a luggage chute.
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