Toddler plucked from claw machine in western Taiwan

3-year-old boy crawls into arcade claw machine in Taichung

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Boy trapped inside claw machine. (Photo from Taichung Fire Department)

Boy trapped inside claw machine. (Photo from Taichung Fire Department)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- A three-year-old boy had to be rescued by firefighters from an arcade claw machine in Taichung after he had somehow wandered into the contraption while his mother had been distracted, reported Liberty Times

The Taichung Fire Department received a call at 1 p.m. on Saturday afternoon that a toddler had crawled into a claw machine on Xitun Road and had become trapped inside. The Fire Department then dispatched one ambulance and eight firefighters.

When firefighters arrived on the scene, they found a little three-year-old boy trapped inside a claw machine, with a runny nose, sweat covering his body and a panicked expression on his face. When firefighters found the mother, a Vietnamese immigrant surnamed Lee (李), they asked her how her son had gotten trapped inside, but she said that she did not know. 

No one had been able to contact the owner of the shop, so a nearby locksmith was brought in to try and unlock the claw machine. However, as the locksmith was not able to quickly pick the lock, and fearing that the boy could suffer heatstroke, firefighters opted to smash the glass window to enable them to extract the boy as quickly as possible. 

Fortunately, the boy was unharmed and did not seem to be heavily traumatized after the 10-minute ordeal, other than crying briefly after being rescued and being reunited with his mother. 

Lee said that while she and her son were waiting for the bus outside the claw machine shop, she walked inside to kill time and took a phone call. The next thing she knew, the boy was staring back at her from inside a claw machine. 

Surveillance video of the incident shows the boy entering through a small opening on lower front end of the machine and quickly climbing up inside. Shop attendants and bystanders can be seen immediately trying to free him from the machine, but to no avail. 

Taichung police said that though Lee had been distracted by a phone call and had taken her eye off her son for a moment, she did not expect him to be able to enter the claw machine, much less get trapped inside. Therefore, police do not believe that she violated child protection laws.