85-year old disabled woman 'strip-searched' at airport

Updated: 

85-year old disabled woman claims she was strip-searched at airportJFK security/PA


An 85-year-old woman in a wheelchair says she was strip-searched after she asked to be patted down instead of going through a body scanner.

Lenore Zimmerman, who has a defibrillator for heart problems, was worried that airport scanners at JFK Airport, New York, would interfere with her life-saving device. After asking for an alternative security check, she says was taken to a private room and told to remove her clothes in a humiliating search that also left her injured.

Ms Zimmerman says she banged her shin during the process, and it bled so badly that an emergency medical technician had to patch her up. She also missed her flight and had to take a different one home, nearly three hours later.

Speaking in The Guardian, she said: "I'm hunched over. I'm in a wheelchair. I weigh under 110lb (50kg). Do I look like a terrorist?"

However, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has denied the incident took place, and said: "TSA screening procedures are conducted in a manner designed to treat all passengers with dignity, respect and courtesy and that occurred in this instance."

Ms Zimmerman said she had been travelling to Florida for at least a decade and had been given pat-downs without any problems until now. "I worry about my heart, so I don't want to go through those things," she told The Guardian, referring to the screening machines at the airport.

Last month, the introduction of controversial 'naked' body scanners, used in many US airports, was brought to a halt by the European Union over fears that the low doses of radiation emitted may cause cancer.

The worst airports in the world 2011

The worst airports in the world 2011


Related articles
Airport security gone mad? 95-year old told to remove 'nappy'

Shock video: child groped and probed in airport security patdown

Sign up to our weekly newsletter | Follow us on Twitter | Become a fan on Facebook