Toddler trapped in toy claw machine ‘has time of his life’ as police scramble to rescue him

1 February 2024, 19:52

The boy was stuck in the claw machine after climbing into the prize dispenser.
The boy was stuck in the claw machine after climbing into the prize dispenser. Picture: Queensland Police

By Jenny Medlicott

A three-year-old boy trapped inside a toy claw machine was having ‘the time of his life’ before he was rescued, his father says.

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

Timothy Hopper had been shopping with his son Ethan in southeast Queensland, Australia, when the toddler climbed into the claw machine before his father could notice.

Ethan climbed into the machine through the prize dispenser, sending his dad into a panic while the three-year-old calmly enjoyed new surroundings.

Mr Hopper said while he was worried about his son, it was hard not to laugh because Ethan was “having the time of his life”.

He told ABC News: “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."

Mr Hopper said he “couldn’t help but laugh” during the incident as he asked himself “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"

"But then reality sunk in - how am I going to get him out," he added.

Read more: Fears brie and camembert to go 'extinct' as fungus used to make the cheeses is dying out

Read more: Vegan restaurant forced to start serving meat in bid to keep afloat amid rising costs

Ethan climbed into the toy machine before his dad could notice.
Ethan climbed into the toy machine before his dad could notice. Picture: Queensland Police

Mr Hopper called the claw machine company, he said: “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'."

Police officers arrived soon after, where they strategised about how to get Ethan out.

Eventually, they told Ethan to climb into the corner of the machine and cover his eyes while they broke the front glass panel loose.

He was then promptly lifted out of the machine and back into the arms of his dad.

Ethan then reassured his father: “Don't worry dad, I won't do it again."

The police freed Ethan from the machine.
The police freed Ethan from the machine. Picture: Queensland Police

Senior Constable Stuart Power said it was the first time he’d been called to such a rescue in his 11-year career.

He said: “For him [Ethan] 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 also said: "We are in discussions with the claw machine vendor to review what measures can be put in place to avoid this happening again."

More Latest News

See more More Latest News

Wayne Couzens who raped and murdered Sarah Everard

Police forces to overhaul how they deal with officers caught flashing after damning Wayne Couzens report

The current discussions on MP safety need to be expanded to candidates too

'We must take action now': The current discussions on MP safety need to be expanded to candidates too

Pakistan Politics

Khan supporters protest as lawmakers take oath in Pakistan parliament

Ultra-processed foods have been linked to a wide range of negative health outcomes including early death

Ultra-processed food linked to 32 different health problems including cancer, heart disease, diabetes and early death

Rust incident

Production manager testifies about Alec Baldwin shooting in 2021 Rust rehearsal

Playwright Jeremy O’Harris has defended the 'black only' nights

‘Black people have been told they don’t belong at the theatre’: Playwright defends ‘black-only’ nights at West End show

Christian Horner has been cleared of inappropriate behaviour

Geri Halliwell 'relieved and elated' after F1 boss husband Christian Horner is cleared after Red Bull investigation

Dame Esther said she was "disappointed" at no clear call for a vote on assisted dying

‘The law is a mess’: Dame Esther Rantzen issues fresh call for free vote on assisted dying

Canada Gaza Strip Aid

Canada says it is working to deliver aid to the Gaza Strip as soon as possible

Mark Feehily announced he's temporarily stepping away from the band amid health struggles.

Westlife star Mark Feehily reveals he’s standing down from the band just days before US tour leaving fans devastated

The Duke of Sussex took legal action against the Home Office over a decision in 2020 to change the level of his personal security

Prince Harry faces £1m bill after losing High Court challenge over taxpayer funded police protection

Rishi Sunak has warned 'mob rule' is threatening to 'replace democratic rule'.

End descent into ‘mob rule’ and shut down intimidating protests, Rishi Sunak tells police amid threats to MPs


President Joe Biden declared ‘fit for duty’ after annual medical test

Thomas Kingston died aged 45.

Lady Gabriella Windsor's husband Thomas Kingston 'died at his parents' £3m country mansion'


Supreme Court to rule if Trump can be prosecuted in election interference case

Richard Lewis has died aged 76.

Curb Your Enthusiasm star Richard Lewis dies aged 76 after suffering heart attack