A 9-year-old boy was able to fly from Minneapolis to Las Vegas without a ticket and managed to avoid security the whole time, until flight attendants became suspicious during the flight. Police are now investigating what led the boy to board the flight in the first place.
"At this point, this is a Delta and TSA issue," airport spokesperson Pat Hogan told KARE-11 News. "This is a rare incident."
The boy reportedly spent the day before his flight at the airport as well, dining at a restaurant inside the airport and taking a piece of luggage off a carousel. The luggage, however, did not belong to him and was soon abandoned. He was able to gain access to the Delta area of the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport by going through full security, even though he had no ticket.
"He had to pass three levels of security: You have the TSA, the gate agents, and the flight crew and a child come through without even a seat assignment," Terry Trippler, an air travel expert with ThePlaneRules.com told KARE. "While we are safer in the air, this proves there are still gaping holes."
The boy may have imbedded himself with a family boarding at the same time in order to avoid detection. Once onboard, he was able to take a seat because the flight was not full. However, flight attendants grew suspicious when they checked their "Unaccompanied Minors" list and realized he was not on it. They contacted Las Vegas authorities, who met the plane and took the boy into their custody.
Police believe the boy is a runaway and are working with local officials and the boy's parents in order to bring him safely home. However, an investigation into why the boy ran away in the first place, and how he was able to board the flight without detection is underway.
"We are investigating the incident and cooperating with the agencies involved," Delta officials said in a statement.
"He was able to get onto an airline where he didn't have a ticket and made it five states across the U.S. If it hadn't been for alert airline employees on our end, he probably never would have been discovered," Las Vegas Metropolitan Police spokesman Bill Cassell told ABC News.