An Israeli couple going on a European vacation remembered to take their duty-free purchases and their 18 suitcases, but forgot their 3-year-old daughter at the airport, police said Monday.
The couple and their five children were late for a charter flight to Paris on Sunday and made a mad dash to the gate. In the confusion, their daughter got lost.
Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said a policeman found her wandering in the Ben-Gurion airport, Israel's bustling main international air portal. He said the officer alerted airline staff, but the flight had already taken off.
The incident happened on what Israeli media said was one of the busiest days of the year, with thousands of people leaving for summer vacations abroad. The Haaretz newspaper reported that 2.6 million passengers are expected to pass through the airport in July and August, an increase of 12 percent compared to the same period last year.
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Israeli media said the parents of the forgotten girl were an ultra-Orthodox Jewish couple, but did not give their names.
Rosenfeld said the parents were unaware they had boarded the aircraft with only four children instead of five until they were informed by cabin staff after 40 minutes in the air.
The child, accompanied by an airline staffer, took the next flight to Paris, where she was safely reunited with her parents.
Rosenfeld said police would question the couple when they return from vacation, on suspicion of parental negligence.