Paralympian Anne Wafula-Strike left on plane for 45 minutes

A Paralympian says she was “neglected” and left to wait on a plane for 45 minutes before airport staff helped her.

Anne Wafula-Strike was on a Ryanair flight to Stansted on Friday and had booked assistance a month in advance.

However, when the plane landed two hours behind schedule she found herself waiting as the other passengers collected their bags and left.

Stansted said it was investigating the incident.

Mrs Wafula-Strike, 49, from Harlow in Essex, said: “I felt angry and very neglected, it’s not good when you are abandoned on a flight and everyone else is picking up their bags and walking off.

“That’s the time you start to think ‘I wish I could just walk like them and get my luggage and walk off the plane’ but I have to rely on assistance to get off, it was bad.”

When a staff member arrived to help the wheelchair racer she said they told her they were short staffed and had been unsure if her flight from Berlin had arrived.

Mrs Wafula-Strike said: “When someone like me speaks up or raises their voice people will think it is only happening to one or two people but it is becoming a common occurrence for people with disabilities to be left neglected on planes or not able to get into trains.

“These things should not be happening when men have walked on the moon.”

Ryanair said a company called Omniserv was responsible for assisting disabled passengers at Stansted.

A spokesman for the airport added: “We are disappointed to hear about Anne’s experience at Stansted on Friday evening.

“We are in the process of investigating how such a situation arose and have asked Omniserv, the company responsible for looking after passengers with reduced mobility, for a full explanation of why Anne had to wait for such a long time on the aircraft.”

Mrs Wafula-Strike received a payout after being forced to wet herself on a train last year.

Earlier this month, the BBC security correspondent Frank Gardner said he had been left “stuck on an empty plane” at Heathrow Airport for a second time in six months.

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BBC News – UK

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