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Wheelchair-user turned away at airport due to repair kit
A paralysed man was not allowed on a flight as his wheelchair repair kit was deemed a security risk.
Steve Smithers, who is paralysed from the chest down, missed his flight when he was turned away from Belfast Airport.
He said he has never had any problems before when travelling since he became paralysed 11 years ago.
The wheelchair repair kit, which contains several spanners and a wheel nut, could have apparently been used to 'dismantle the plane'.
Mr Smithers needed the tool kit to adjust his wheelchair to fit a hire car he had booked on his arrival and in case his wheels broke.
Hannah Bottomley, clinical negligence solicitor at Potter Rees Dolan, said:
We have written extensively about the difficulties wheelchair users and those with mobility problems can experience trying to get out and about in an average city. This is yet another example of the difficulties faced by many. It would seem sensible that spanners are not allowed through security, however, this blanket rule fails to take into account why such items may be needed by an individual in a wheelchair.
I hope that Belfast Airport recognise that consideration needs to be given to each individual set of circumstances and hope that Mr Smithers is able to complete his journey is a dignified way in the future. This report of course comes hot on the heels of a disabled woman who was initially asked to leave a train due to having a mobility scooter instead of a wheelchair (read the story here).
This story comes just a week after we reported how Manchester Airport has introduced a new scheme for those passengers with 'hidden disabilities'.
Hannah Bottomley is a clinical negligence solicitor here at Potter Rees Dolan. Should you have any queries about clinical negligence issues or indeed any other aspect of this article and wish to speak to Hannah or any other member of the team please contact us on 0161 237 5888 or email Hannah directly.