Home UK Paraplegic athlete forced to drag himself through Luton Airport drops case

Paraplegic athlete forced to drag himself through Luton Airport drops case

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A paraplegic athlete who was forced to drag himself through Luton Airport is dropping legal action against them as they have improved their disabled facilities.

Justin Levene, 30, an international wheelchair athlete and mentor from north London, had to pull himself along the floor before sitting on a luggage trolley after his self-propelled wheelchair was left behind on his flight.

Staff had offered to push him through arrivals on a rigid high-backed chair, which Mr Levene declined as he felt it took away his independence and would leave him humiliated and degraded.

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Paraplegic man forced to drag himself through Luton Airport drops case Credit: BBC

He said being strapped in the chair would make him feel humiliated and degraded (Picture: BBC)

Officials said Mr Levene declined all offers of help following the incident in August 2017.

Mr Levene, who was paralysed after damaging a spinal disc in a coughing fit and lost the ability to walk after an operation, said he refused the offer because it removed his independence.

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Now, Luton airport said it has 10 self-propelled wheelchairs and Mr Levene has dropped his legal action against them.

He told the BBC: If Luton now has self-propelling wheelchairs, and a loan system in case of loss or damage to a wheelchair, then Im delighted with this outcome.

Editorial use only Mandatory Credit: Photo by Ken McKay/ITV/REX (9970664ax) Justin Levene 'Good Morning Britain' TV show, London, UK - 08 Nov 2018

Mr Levene was paralysed after damaging a spinal disc in a coughing fit and lost the ability to walk after an operation(Picture: ITV/REX)

Provider: Twitter/justin_levene

He said he is happy to drop his claim after the airport improved their disabled facilities (Picture: Twitter/justin_levene)

This was never about money, it was about trying get a change in policy.

I am happy to drop my legal claim because Luton has taken on board my concerns and improved their disabled facilities for the better.

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I hope that media coverage has helped raise awareness of issues around the mobility needs of disabled travellers.

We simply want to get from A to B with as much dignity and independence as possible.

In addition to the wheelchairs, which are based permanently at the airport, provisions include a loan replacement system, where people can be lent wheelchairs free of charged as well as organising and funding the returns process.

If they have been notified of any requirements for specialised mobility equipment, it has an arrangement with a local disability resource centre who will assist the airport in getting the required items.

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