Search JTA's historical archive dating back to 1923

Israeli Stowaway on Rumanian Airline Causes Some Red Faces

August 2, 1984
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

A 15-year-old boy stowed himself away aboard a Rumanian Airline plane to Bucharest recently and spent a month there with his grandmother before being reported to the authorities and sent back to Israel.

The incident has been kept quiet till now, with many red faces at both Ben Gurion Airport in Israel and the Rumanian capital’s airport and investigations about security procedures at both places have been started.

The youth arrived at Ben Gurion Airport from his home in northern Israel one day at the end of May without a ticket, passport or boarding card. He walked past passport control and security guards, boarded the plane and took a vacant seat.

The air crew, who are supposed to count passengers, apparently failed to do so. When a security guard aboard the plane asked for his boarding card the youth pointed to a group of elderly tourists behind him and said: “My grandmother has it.”

During the flight, the stowaway ate and drank with the other passengers and is now reported to have enjoyed the flight thoroughly. In Bucharest the youngster mingled with the tourist group. Passports were not checked individually as the tour agent presented them all to the authorities in a batch.

The boy stayed a month with his grandmother in Bucharest and, according to the story he told Israeli police later, “nagged her to death and caused a lot of trouble.” The grandmother could finally not take it any more and reported her grandson to the police, who sent the boy back to Israel on the next flight.

He was detained and questioned by the Israeli police, who are now considering what steps to take against the boy who is a minor but, being over 12, can be charged with illegal exit from the country.

The boy had flown to Rumania with his parents on a visit to his grandmother last August. It is not known what steps his parents took to try and find him when he failed to return home last May.

Recommended from JTA