Toddler who died after fall at Pearson airport wiggled out of moms arms: police

The Canadian Press ~ The News
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MISSISSAUGA, Ont. - A family embarking on a vacation has been left devastated after a toddler wiggled out of his mother's arms and suffered a fatal, 15-metre fall at Pearson International Airport, police said Monday.
A woman was standing beside a railing Sunday on the upper departures level in Terminal 1 and holding her 15-month-old boy when her other child distracted her, said police.
Family friend Guillermo Bellido identified the parents as Veronica and Flavio Romano and the children as Lucca and four-year-old Massimo.
"They were on their way to Buenos Aires ... to do a baptism for Lucca," Bellido said.
"They had just moved to Ontario after living in Winnipeg for 10 years," he added.
They settled in Burlington, Ont., where Veronica Romano's brother lives, he said. "That was the reason they went there."
A preliminary investigation, aided by witness accounts and video surveillance, suggests the mother lost her hold on Lucca and he plummeted over the rail, down to the lower level arrivals area of the cavernous airport hub.
Foul play is not suspected and the tragic fall has been ruled an accident, Peel police Const. J.P. Valade said.
"We've been able to determine the child was in his mother's arms. There was a four-year-old sibling that was nearby," said Valade.
"When the mother turned to pay some attention to the four-year-old, the 15-month-old was able to sort of wiggle out of her arms and she lost her grip on the child and he fell over the balcony."
A small makeshift memorial was growing at the scene Monday. "Rest in peace little angel," was among the messages scrawled on a card and placed among the flowers and stuffed animals.
The family is "absolutely devastated, as would anyone be at the loss of a child," Valade added.
Police got a 911 call about 7:20 p.m. Sunday and went to the scene with fire officials and ambulance personnel. The boy was taken to hospital where he was pronounced dead about an hour later.
Several witnesses were interviewed at the airport and police have a "great deal" of video surveillance footage, Valade said.
Brad Givoque said he saw the boy's father run to be at his son's side.
"He had come running, I guess from upstairs," Givoque told CTV News.
"It looked like the longest run of his life, he just kind of fell to the floor."
Doug Ellis, whose wife witnessed the fall, said "people were there right away trying to save him and did everything they could to save his life."
Officials at the Greater Toronto Airports Authority said the balcony partition is to code and called the fall an "isolated, tragic accident."
"The height of all railings at the airport meet the National Building Code," said spokesman Scott Armstrong.
Bellido said friends in Winnipeg were in the process of setting up an account for donations for the family at a Winnipeg branch of TD bank.

Organizations: Pearson International Airport, Peel police Const. J.P. Valade, CTV News Greater Toronto Airports Authority TD bank

Geographic location: Winnipeg, MISSISSAUGA, Buenos Aires Ontario Burlington

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