The mother of a two-year old boy says she was ‘freaking out’ after he jumped onto a conveyor belt at a Georgia airport and fell through a luggage chute into a baggage room.
The child, named Lorenzo, was hospitalized after the terrifying incident at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta on Monday.
Edith Vega told WSB-TV that she put him down briefly so that she could print a boarding pass.
She looked up moments later to see him being ferried away on the conveyor belt behind a Spirit Airlines counter.
Vega said she tried to get him when she saw him at the end of the belt but she wasn’t allowed to cross over.
‘I just went blank, I was, like: “Hey, my son…”, I wanted to jump in and try to go get him but they didn’t allow me,” she said.
‘I was just freaking out and I’m, like, “Oh my goodness, I hope he’s OK. I hope he’s just enjoying the ride.’
Vega was told by staff that Lorenzo was riding around on the conveyor belt for around five minutes, and his journey included several twists and turns until he eventually fell into a luggage chute.
‘When I tried to go after him, it was the end of the machine. He just went a long ride away. I couldn’t even catch up,’ she said.
The airline said the ticket counter was closed at the time and there were no staff members nearby to pull the child off the belt, according to WSB-TV.
An Atlanta police report claimed a TSA worker alerted authorities after finding Lorenzo in the bag room with a broken right hand.
Lorenzo fractured his right hand in the incident and was taken to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Scottish Rite where he is recovering, The Atlanta Journal Constitution reported.
It remains uncertain whether the child’s hand got stuck in the conveyor belt or whether it was damaged by another passenger’s bags.
Vega said that she has not seen the bag room where her son actually ended up at the end of the conveyor belt ride.
In a statement, Spirit Airlines wished the child a speedy recovery. It said it was working with TSA and airport officials to ensure proper protocol was followed as part of an investigation into the incident.