Police rescue three-year-old boy stuck inside Hello Kitty claw machine

A three-year-old boy in Australia was rescued from a Hello Kitty claw machine after he crawled up the prize dispenser for a toy.

On Wednesday, Queensland police revealed they rescued the toddler from the claw machine at Capalaba shopping centre on Saturday 27 January. Police shared footage of the rescue mission on X (formerly Twitter) where the toddler, named Ethan Hopper, was seen inside the toy machine surrounded by Hello Kitty plushies.

The video showed both police and Ethan’s parents figuring out how to free the toddler from the claw machine. When the officers discovered that the machine was made of glass, Ethan’s father Timothy Hopper instructed his son to go to his mother, who was standing on the other side of the machine.

“Ethan, cover your eyes. Hide,” his father said, before police shattered the glass panel. Ethan was then freed from the machine, as one officer joked: “You won a prize. Which one do you want?”

“Ethan and the Police: 1. Claw Machine: 0,” Queensland police captioned footage of the claw machine rescue.

Speaking to reporters on Thursday, Timothy explained that it was “unbelievable” how quickly his son had crawled into the claw machine, after he had turned his back for a “split second” while out grocery shopping.

“He loves claw machines,” Timothy said, per The Guardian. “As he always does, he opened up the flap to be an opportunist. Then, within a split second, he crawled into the machine, the door closed behind him. He stood up and realised what happened and he was king of the mountain.”

Timothy revealed that Ethan was inside the machine for about 10 to 15 minutes, where he was having “the time of his life”. When the father called the claw machine company at the time, they didn’t seem to realise it was his son who was stuck inside the machine.

“They were asking me: ‘How much money have I put in the machine? Is the money stuck in the machine?’ My response was, ‘The only thing stuck in the machine is my child, I would love to have him back,’” Timothy recalled.

Meanwhile, senior constable Stuart Power of Capalaba Police Station said in his 11-year career he’d never seen an incident like this one before. “When we got the call there was a bit of a smile in the car. Both [of us] as fathers, thinking what our boys would do,” Power said, according to The Guardian. “Kids are kids. My boy’s four and I’m surprised he hasn’t done similar.”

Despite some of the “negative feedback” Timothy has received on “social media” following the claw machine fiasco, he emphasised that “kids are going to be kids” and “they can move in the blink of an eye.”