A video capturing the conversation between the plane's pilot and an air traffic control (ATC) officer went viral and had people wondering how a mother could do such a thing - forget her baby at a terminal and just board a plane.
In the video, the captain is heard requesting an emergency landing from a Jeddah air traffic controller and asking for an all-clear to fly back to the city.
"A passenger on board forgot her baby in the terminal and she refuses to continue the flight. Please confirm whether we can get back to the gate or what," the pilot is heard saying.
"Ok, head back to the gate. This is totally a new one for us!" the ATC officer exclaims.
According to an anonymous source who spoke to StepFeed, a number of media outlets misreported the incident.
The first incorrect information was that the passenger on Saudia Airlines flight's SV832 forgot her "baby" at the terminal. However, according to the source, the kid is assumed to be aged three or five years. However, the video of the captain saying "forgot her baby" may have been the source of confusion.
The second piece of information that was misreported was the mother's "forgot my kid" statement. "They were separated on ground because the mom was assisting an old lady, probably her own mother. Due to language barrier, she used the word 'FORGOT' when she was actually referring to 'LEFT BEHIND' because she can't describe the situation at the moment as she was in panic [sic]," the anonymous source explained.
The mother was with family members, with whom she left her child, and was well aware of the situation as they had "different seat arrangements."
What startled the mother as well as the flight's crew was the fact that the rest of the family failed to board the plane, which drove her to ask "the Captain if she can go down the aircraft and not continue if they cannot find her family [sic]."
On a third and final note, media outlets also reported that the plane "diverted back" based on the assumption that it had taken off. But according to the source, the plane was still "on ground" when the incident took place instead of being midair, like media reports suggested earlier.
"The airport was very busy at that time because all the far east flights were boarding almost at the same time - 2 kuala lumpur, Manila, Jakarta and China. Some of her family members were directed to go to a different gate and a different flight that is why her other family members were confused as to where they will go/board," the source said, adding that many of the family members were first-time travelers, which made the situation even more complicated.
"She knew from the beginning that her kids were not with her and were still at the terminal and she informed us. Somebody assured her that they will be boarding with the next batch of passengers but to our surprise her family was still not onboard," the source added.
Many people harshly criticized the mother
"This woman is negligent and must be punished over this."
While others shared the explanation behind the incident
"The mother was with her sister and her son; they were all going to Malaysia and got on different buses heading to the plane. The mother got on a bus, and her sister and the baby on another. The latter's driver drove to a plane flying to Jakarta. When they realized the mistake, the mother was already on the plane, which was on its way out of the airport."