Queensland police rescue three-year-old from claw machine full of toys

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The father of a three-year-old boy who became trapped in a claw machine at a south-east Queensland shopping centre says his son "was having the time of his life".

Three-year-old Ethan climbed into the machine through its prize dispenser at a shopping centre at Capalaba on Saturday night, police said.

Vision shows the toddler calmly climbing on the toys, as adults encouraged him to come out.

Ethan's father, Timothy Hopper, said his son was playing with the machine before he quickly disappeared out of sight.

"I had zero chance to react to it, it was unbelievable how fast he climbed up there," Mr Hopper said.

"I was watching him, and then I was talking to my children.

"He always opens up the flap to be an opportunist, and then within a split second he crawled into the machine and the door closed behind him."

Mr Hopper said his son regularly played the machines and was quite amused he was inside.

"He stood up and realized what had happened, he climbed over the perplex glass and was king of the mountain," he said.

"I 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.

"But then reality sunk in — how am I going to get him out."

'I messaged my old man, and he asked me how many $2 coins I had'
Mr Hopper said he and his partner prioritized remaining calm, while calling the claw machine company.

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

"My response was, 'the only thing stuck in the machine is my child, I'd love to have him back'.

"I messaged my old man, and he asked me how many $2 coins I had, we can try and win him back."

Senior constable Stuart Power said the rescue was a first in his 11 year policing career, but made easy because Ethan was in good spirits.

"For him to get distraught in there, it would’ve made things a lot harder to extract 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."

Senior Constable Power and his colleagues broke the glass, before helping Ethan to safety.

"He was more excited he was going to get a cuddle from a police officer," Mr Hopper said.

A Capalaba Park Shopping Centre spokesperson said the incident was a first for company Retail First, which operates 21 centres in the south-east.

"We are in discussions with the claw machine vendor to review what measures can be put in place to avoid this happening again," a spokesperson said.

As for three-year-old Ethan, who was presented with his own toy koala dressed as a police officer to mark the occasion, he has assured his dad more entrapments aren't in his future.

"Don’t worry, dad, I won't do it again," Ethan said.

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