Authorities are still trying to figure out just how an 11-year-old boy managed to board a flight from Manchester to Rome without any form of identification or a plane ticket.

"I take any breach of security, very, very seriously," Transport Secretary Justine Greening told the BBC. "So we are now investigating with Manchester Airport and, indeed the airline, to find out exactly what happened."

Liam Corcoran was shopping with his mother at Wythenshawe Civic Centre yesterday when he suddenly took off, ending up at Manchester Airport nearly three miles away.

He then attached himself to a family and followed them through five security checkpoints, not once being asked to show ID or a boarding pass. Once on board the plane, Liam grabbed a seat and went unnoticed by flight crew until passengers alerted the captain to the unaccompanied minor.

He was flown back to Manchester and reunited with his mom last night.

"The boy went through full security screening so the safety of passengers and the aircraft was never compromised," said a Manchester Airport spokesman. "He was with a large group of other children, he appeared to be in a family group - for whatever reason he wasn't checked. It was our responsibility - we absolutely have to answer for that. This was a young lad on an adventure."

Several airport staffers and crew members have been suspended while the investigation is ongoing.

[photo via AP]