Palestinian boy sneaks on Beirut-Istanbul flight, security doesn't notice

Palestinian boy sneaks on Beirut-Istanbul flight, security doesn't notice
Lebanese officials launched an investigation after a teenage boy managed to board a flight to Turkey without a ticket or passport.

2 min read
02 September, 2016
The probe was launched after a 13-year-old boy managed to bypass security [Getty]

An investigation was launched on Friday to explore how a teenage boy was able to sneak onto a flight and travel to Turkey from Lebanon without a ticket or passport.

Officials at Beirut's international airport said they were looking into the circumstances after the boy was discovered by crew members on-board the Middle East Airlines flight after it had already taken off.

"Widescale investigations are ongoing into the details of the incident and how the child passed through the security checkpoints and boarded the plane without being detected," airport authorities said in a statement published by the official National News Agency.

It added that anyone found to have been "negligent" would be punished, and that security procedures were being strengthened "to prevent the recurrence of such an incident." 

Local media said the 13-year-old boy -who opted to sit in business class - managed to reach the aircraft despite several security points in the airport.

Although his nationality and purpose of his journey were unclear, the boy's adventure prompted criticism from Walid Jumblatt, a leading political figure and head of the Druze minority, who linked it to the country's ongoing political stalemate.

Lebanon has been without a president for more than two years, with its parliament locked in a standoff between two rival political blocs.

"All of this is due to the political and administrative chaos" in the country, he wrote on Twitter.

Passengers flying from Beirut's Rafik Hariri airport generally pass through at least five security points, including one before they enter the airport and a final examination of their documents by security at the departure lounge, before boarding flights.

Millions of passengers pass through Rafik Hariri airport each year, and the incident comes after officials acknowledged that security at the facility needs work.

In March, Transport and Public Works Minister Ghazi Zaiter told a press conference that there was a $1.4 million shortfall in funds needed to bolster security measures at the airport.