Family Leaves Son At Greek Airport, Doesn't Realise Until Landing In Wales

A mother has described the shock of realising her sick son, who has autism, had been left behind at a Greek airport while she and her family travelled back home to the UK, completely unaware.

Nicola Purdy did not realise her son, Jack, had been left behind in Greece until she was collecting her family's luggage at the carousel at Cardiff Airport in Wales.

Purdy told Wales Online her 24-year-old son began experiencing flu-like symptoms, including a headache and vomiting, at Heraklion Airport ahead of the flight home.

When Jack -- who is on the autism spectrum -- was taken away by a doctor in a wheelchair, Purdy said she was assured he would be assisted to board the plane back home.

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"The doctor came and took him, and his boarding pass and said they would put him on the flight in priority seating," she told Wales Online.

Jack was without his passport, mobile phone or any money.

The air traffic control tower at the Heraklion Airport. Image: Getty

After boarding the plane with her other two children, Purdy realised Jack was not in his assigned seat, but felt confident he had been given priority seating further forward in the plane.

The family only realised Jack had not boarded the plane after landing more than four hours later, when they headed to collect their bags in Wales.

"I was perfectly oblivious and we arrived at Cardiff and went to get the luggage. We waited a while, and there was nobody left in arrivals or departures and I thought, where is my son?" Purdy said.

Image: Getty

The mother-of-three said instead of being helped to board the plane, Jack had been taken to a hospital and after receiving medical attention, made his own way back to the airport.

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Purdy enlisted the help of Greek airport security, police and the British Consulate during a three-and-a-half hour search for her son, before she was able to find out what happened.

"What must have been going through his mind? He must have been thinking we had all abandoned him," she said.

"I thought he was safe and was on the flight. It had never happened to me before. Why would I not assume he was on the flight?"

A manager from TUI -- the UK travel company Purdy had booked the trip through -- accompanied Jack back the UK.

Purdy said she wants compensation from TUI for the incident, and an assurance it will never happen to anybody else.