Monday, March 7, 2011
'Peek-a-boo game' gone wrong as child is shut in overhead locker of Virgin Blue aircraft by steward
A male flight attendant has been sacked after putting a toddler in an overhead locker.
The airline has also offered angry mother Natalie Williamson free flights after the incident, which occurred mid-air on a plane from Fiji to Sydney. She says she is 'too shaken' to accept them however.
Ms Williamson claims the flight attendant picked up her 17-month-old son Riley, placed him inside the locker and closed the latch - an experience that left her 'shaken'
She told Australia's Sunday Herald Sun newspaper: 'I stood up and there were people laughing and then I said: "Get my son out of there now".
'I was devastated. I was absolutely devastated. I was crying. My husband was in shock. For days on end I was crying.'
Virgin admitted an incident did take place, but claims Ms Williamson's now estranged husband Shayne was playing a peek-a-boo game with the child that involved the overhead locker when the flight attendant joined in.
A Virgin spokesman said: 'We conducted a thorough investigation of the incident and the staff member involved was subsequently terminated.
'The safety of our guests is our top priority and we do not tolerate any breaches of this kind.'
Ms Williamson claims Riley was shut in the locker for up to 10 seconds in complete darkness.
She said: 'The manager on board came up to me later and said, "I need you to complain, I need you to do something. Write or ring. Do whatever you can".'
Riley, now 20 months old, is suffering from anxiety and withdrawal, the mother added.
She said: 'He won't leave my sight now. He sleeps with me. If I'm not in the same room as him, he will scream and yell "Mum, mum, mum".'