Three-year-old trapped inside toy claw machine was ‘having time of his life’ before rescue


A three-year-old trapped inside a toy claw machine was “having the time of his life” while his dad and police scrambled to free him.

Timothy Hopper and his son Ethan were at a shopping centre in southeast Queensland, Australia, when the boy climbed into the machine.

After entering through the prize dispenser, the boy was filmed calmly wandering around inside the box, while adults tried to coax him out.

Speaking to Australian news outlet ABC, the boy’s father said: “I had zero chance to react to it, it was unbelievable how fast he climbed up there.

“I was watching him and then I was talking to my children.”

While Mr Hopper was worried about his son, he said he “couldn’t help but laugh thinking ‘how has this happened?’ because he wasn’t hurt, he wasn’t sad, so it was easy to have a laugh when he was having the time of his life”.

Police breaking glass on a toy claw machine to free Ethan, a three year old boy. Pic: Queensland Police
Pic: Queensland Police

Timothy Hopper and his son Ethan, who was rescued from a toy claw machine. Pic: Queensland Police
Timothy Hopper and his son Ethan after police freed him. Pic: Queensland Police

“But then reality sunk in – how am I going to get him out,” he added, before sharing he called the claw machine company.

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“They were asking me how much money I had put in the machine [and if the money was] stuck in the machine.

“My response was ‘the only thing stuck in the machine is my child, I’d love to have him back’.”

After police arrived at the scene, they told Ethan to climb to the corner of the machine and cover his eyes so they could break him loose.

An officer then broke the glass window and safely lifted Ethan out of the machine – before reuniting him with his parents.

Ethan, who was gifted a toy koala dressed as a police officer after the ordeal, told Mr Hopper: “Don’t worry dad, I won’t do it again.”

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Senior Constable Stuart Power called the rescue a first in his 11-year policing career, and praised Ethan for making it easy by being in good spirits.

“For him to get distraught in there, it would’ve made things a lot harder to abstract him on the night,” he said.

“We directed him to the back corner and to cover his eyes which he was exceedingly happy to do, he bounced into the corner. Kids are going to be kids.”

A Capalaba Park Shopping Centre spokesperson told ABC the incident was also a first for company Retail First, and added: “We are in discussions with the claw machine vendor to review what measures can be put in place to avoid this happening again.”

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