A toddler fractured his hand and frightened his mother after he was carried away on a luggage conveyor belt at the Atlanta airport on Monday, in an incident captured on video.
Security footage shows Lorenzo, 2, climbing onto the conveyor belt beside a check-in kiosk at the Harsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. The boy is quickly swept away into the labyrinth of luggage tracks behind the counter, and from there, he embarked on a five-minute journey ending with him being dumped in the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) bag room.
Edith Vega says her son suffered a fractured right hand at some point during the ordeal, but she’s just glad it wasn’t worse.
“I’m thankful he’s alive,” she told local station WSBTV on Wednesday. “That’s all that goes through my mind. I’m just grateful he’s here.”
Vega says she set Lorenzo down beside the Spirit Airlines kiosk to print a boarding ticket on Monday afternoon. She printed off her pass and went to pick up her child only to realize — too late — that he’d climbed onto the conveyor belt beside the kiosk. She called two attendants over and they tried to catch him but they were too slow, and he disappeared behind the rubber flaps.
“I couldn’t keep up,” she said. “I wanted to jump in and try to go get him but they didn’t allow me.”
Video released by the airport shows the boy’s frightening journey through the automated behind-the-scenes world of conveyor belts.
Perhaps the most frightening moment comes when the boy tries to avoid getting swallowed up by a large grey scanning machine.
Security video shows Lorenzo trying to crawl away from the machine’s opening while the conveyor belt and the tide of luggage slowly push him in. He eventually gets dragged through the machine, then carried up and down a series of ramps into the TSA bag room.
Several TSA officers spotted the boy immediately. The video shows them getting up and rush to his aid, helping him off the conveyor belt and carrying him to safety.
Lorenzo and his mom were later transported to hospital, where the boy was treated for cuts to his arm and a fractured hand.
Spirit Airlines is working with TSA and airport staff to ensure all protocols were followed, a spokesperson for the airline told WSBTV.
The airline says the conveyor belt was at an unstaffed ticket counter.