A Wigan woman who is severely disabled has made horrifying accusations of abuse and ill-treatment by staff at a German airport.
Wheelchair-bound Svitlana Vorozhkina says she had a protective corset grabbed by security at Frankfurt Airport and faced aggressive claims that she tried to attack employees and was even exaggerating her disability.
The plastic and metal object, which Svitlana has to wear for long journeys after a serious car accident left her partly-paralysed and with severe spine and nerve damage, was also treated with great suspicion by the German authorities.
The shocking incident happened on June 5 as Svitlana and her husband Ruslan Vorozhkin were returning to their Standish home after a trip to the Ukrainian capital city Kiev.
Svitlana, 41, was left extremely shaken and upset by the ordeal as they were catching a connecting flight and is determined to take the matter further.
She said: “The corset is a piece of specific equipment I have to support my back. I’m in pain 24/7.
“We got to the security area and an employee looked at me and asked if there was any possibility of taking the corset off.
“I said I couldn’t while I was sat down. A lady then checked my hands and didn’t listen to what I said about the corset. Straight away she opened it without telling me anything. I just slumped forward, I was in horrible pain.
“She said I had something there. I moved forward and as I was reaching for it the corset fell to the floor. Of course by this point I became angry.
“The security called for police and the woman told them I had tried to beat her up,
“I said I wanted to complain about this but the police said if I did she would also complain about me and say I had attacked her.
“Another security official then said he didn’t believe I was disabled or paralysed. They were all around me pushing me not to make a claim, saying I would be in trouble and lose money on my tickets.
“The security lady was really aggressive. I don’t understand how they could all be doing things like that to a disabled person. Two police with guns came to my seat on the plane because they thought I had water.
“I’ve travelled all over Europe and never been treated like this. Normally airport staff care for disabled people. It’s the first time in my life someone has tried to take off my corset at an airport.
“I was shocked and scared. I want to say something about it because today it is me, tomorrow it could be another person.”
Frankfurt Airport has asked Svitlana to submit a full account of the incident for further investigation.
She and Ruslan have also been in contact with the office of Wigan MP Lisa Nandy and are also sending information to her team.