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Disabled B.C. man forced to drag himself off flight says he’s pushing for changes

PRINCE GEORGE, B.C. — A disabled British Columbia man who dragged himself off an Air Canada flight in Las Vegas after the airline’s ground assistance personnel were not available to help him says he doesn’t want others to go through the same experience.

Prince George resident Rodney Hodgins, who can’t walk due to spastic cerebral palsy and uses a motorized wheelchair for mobility, says he was shocked and angry when a flight attendant said he would have to get himself off the airplane.

The 49-year-old hardware salesman says he was forced to use the strength of his upper body to pull himself down the airplane aisle, while his wife, Deanna, held his legs, which cannot move.

Hodgins says the experience has left him committed to making sure disabled people are treated with dignity and safety on flights.

He says he’s recently been contacted by Canada’s chief accessibility officer Stephanie Cadieux, who posted on social media earlier this month that Air Canada forgot her wheelchair on a cross-Canada flight.

Air Canada issued a statement saying it has reached out to Hodgins to offer apologies and compensation, adding the airline is evaluating how wheelchair users are assisted in Las Vegas. 

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 29, 2023.

The Canadian Press

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