Air France
A female passenger on board an Air France flight heading from Istanbul to Paris was found carrying a child in a cloth handbag. Reuters

A female passenger on board Air France flight AF1891 heading from Istanbul to Paris on 7 March was found carrying a young child in a handbag. Halfway through the flight, cabin crew were alerted by a nearby passenger when a young child, believed to be four-years-old, was found moving inside a cloth bag held by the woman.

"There was a cloth bag belonging to a female passenger who was sitting at the rear of the plane. She began to open the bag and another passenger sitting nearby saw something moving inside," a 36-year-old witness on board the Air France flight told French newspaper Le Figaro. "He alerted the flight attendants who discovered a baby."

Crew members requested the woman who was seated near the end of the plane to open her handbag and a child was found inside the bag. The woman along with the child were taken to the front of the aircraft and handed over to the French police upon the flight's arrival at the Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris. According to reports, no announcement was made by crew to alert other passengers to the situation.

The child who was reportedly "travelling without a ticket" has been confirmed to be in good health. Meanwhile, an Air France spokesman said: "An investigation is under way. I can only say that the security checks are the responsibility of airports, in this case, Istanbul Ataturk."

It is yet to be confirmed if the woman, a French resident, is the child's biological mother or if it is a case of child trafficking. Local reports have suggested the woman had started an adoption process for the four-year-old Haitian girl.

The woman was attempting to take the child back to France and had initially tried to board another flight with the child but was denied access. She took on a second flight with the child hidden inside her hand luggage.