Disabled BBC journalist Frank Gardner stranded on flight at Heathrow for second time ‘as airport staff get trapped in lift’


A disabled BBC journalist has told of how he was left stranded on an empty plane at Heathrow airport for the second time in just six months.

Frank Gardner, security correspondent for the broadcaster, said the delay was caused by staff accidently locking themselves in a lift that was meant to help him to the ground.

He was eventually forced to shove his wheelchair out of the plane window before finally departing the aircraft following the British Airways flight on Monday.

In a tweet, he described to incident as “absurd”.

He wrote: “Ok so this is so absurd it’s actually funny. 30 mins after landing at @HeathrowAirport I’m once again stuck on empty plane. Hi-lift crew have managed to lock themselves inside their hydraulic cabin and can’t get out! BA crew being brilliant.”

Heathrow said it had “apologised to Mr Gardner for the technical fault”, and accepted it “fell short of our standards”, according to a statement given to the BBC.

The Standard has approached the airport for further comment.

It comes after Mr Gardner, who is partly paralysed and unable to get around without a wheelchair, was also left stranded on a flight at the same airport earlier this year.

He hit out at the airport after being kept on the plane for almost two hours as staff claimed to have lost his wheelchair.

It had been taken to the terminal rather than the plane door, leaving him stranded.

After the earlier incident, Mr Gardner told BBC Radio 4’s today programme: “There are hundreds, possibly thousands of others who have this experience and all we get is these platitudes from Heathrow Airport, calling me by my first name and saying they have created a case number for you.

“Nothing changes, it goes on and on happening and it is just so frustrating.”

He added: “If you can’t walk and your wheelchair has been taken away to the terminal, that is your legs gone, that is your mobility gone.

“It is a basic human right so I am pretty seething about it.”

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