A wheelchair-bound woman was humiliated after staff at a German airport accused her of exaggerating her disability – and ripped off her spinal corset to try and prove it.
Svitlana Vorozhkina, 41, who is partly-paralysed following a serious car accident, has been left “shaken and upset” after being manhandled at Frankfurt Airport.
She was travelling back to the UK from a trip to her native Ukraine with husband Ruslan Vorozhkin when staff began treating her with suspicion.
They asked her to remove a corset which supports her spine on long journeys – but when she refused they did it themselves and she slumped forward in agony.
Svitlana, who now lives in Wigan, Lancs., said: “The corset is a piece of specific equipment I have to support my back because 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 and 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 and the security lady was really aggressive.”
Svitlana has been left extremely shaken and upset by the ordeal on June 5 and is determined to take the matter further.
She said: “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.