Page last updated at 14:29 GMT, Monday, 4 August 2008 15:29 UK

Parents forget child at airport

Check-in at Ben Gurion Airport (image: Israel Airports Authority)
A flight attendant escorted the girl on her eventual flight to Paris

Staff at Ben Gurion Airport in Israel have found a four-year-old girl alone in a duty-free shop after her parents accidentally took a plane without her.

The parents boarded the flight to Paris with four of their five children.

The mother and father were sitting in different parts of the aircraft and did not realise their mistake until the captain informed them after take-off.

The girl was accompanied on the next flight to Paris. The parents will be questioned when they return to Israel.

It is understood that the ultra Orthodox family, who were emigrating to France, were late for their flight and carrying a large amount of luggage.

Each parent thought the girl was with the other, but she was instead wandering around the airport's large circular duty free area in tears.

She was able to give her name to officials who spotted her. They tried to contact her parents over the airport's public address system before realising the plane had already taken off.

"She was upset, crying, and asked over and over again for daddy and mummy," said Sarit Ben-Eden, the police officer in charge of the departures hall.

The incident was a reminder of the 1992 film Home Alone 2 in which a large family leave one of their children behind in an airport while rushing off on a Christmas holiday.

'Top-notch people'

It is usual that travellers in a rush forget their luggage but not a child
Police official
The child's grandmother, who had driven the family to the airport, told the Ha'aretz newspaper she did not know how the mistake could have happened.

"We're in shock. They're very responsible and organised, top-notch people. Apparently each one relied on the other and this is what happened," she said.

Friends of the couple have told the Israeli media that they had a lot on their mind.

But a police official told AFP news agency: "It is usual that travellers in a rush forget their luggage but not a child. This never happens."

An Israeli police spokesman told the BBC that they would be keen to speak to the couple on their return to Israel to examine the extent of their negligence.

Separately, the Israeli airline company is investigating how it allowed only six people on board with seven ticket stubs.

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