Man, 87, 'treated like terrorist'
DOES this frail 87-year-old look like a terrorist?
His family say he was treated like one at the security screening point at Sunshine Coast Airport.
Edgars Lakis has a pacemaker and is unsteady on his feet, even when supported by the crutches that have kept him ambulatory since a hip operation.
As he approached the security screening point before noon on Tuesday his son, Maris, pointed out to ISS security staff his father's condition and that with a pacemaker, he would be unable to go through the screen.
Mr Lakis was required to remove his shoes, jacket, belt and hand over the crutches and was then subjected to a body scanning .
While he stood trembling, his trousers were threatening to fall from his hips.
His daughter Ilse Edwards, who lives at Buderim, was appalled by the treatment he received.
"I worked in the airline industry so I understand the need for security,'' she said.
"But why target the elderly. There were other older people subjected to it while young people were allowed straight through. There was a little elderly lady who had to hand over her walking stick."
Mrs Edwards said after her father's crutches were removed, he had to shuffle through to the other side for a full body scan.
"I still have an image in my head of his trousers falling. It was awful. He was unsteady on his feet,'' she said.
The incident soured a perfect family reunion that Mr Lakis only agreed to attend because his son would be travelling with him.
ISS did not respond to requests for comment.
But Mrs Edwards said she was contacted by Paul Knott from the company who had apologised twice for the distressed caused by the incident.
But she said he had also defended the right to take the crutches, shoes and belt from her father and subject him to a body search because he could have been concealing weapons in his clothing.
"He was an 87-year-old on crutches,'' she said. "Can't they see that.''
Sunshine Coast Airport general manager Peter Pallot said security at the airport was provided by Qantas through a sub-contactor.
He said the airport was trying to win back control of the process so that it could impart the right Sunshine Coast touch expected by travellers using the facility.
Qantas security manager Glenn Lucock has promised a full investigation into the matter.
Mr Lakis' departure for his return to Melbourne did not get easier when he was told that only two wheelchairs were allowed on the tarmac at any time and both were in use.
He was denied permission to accompany his father out to the plane and had to watch as he struggled unassisted to first cross the tarmac and then haul himself up the stairs, crutches clutched in one arm.
The family has filed a formal complaint with Virgin.
"We watched fearfully and helplessly as my father made slow progress out to the aircraft,'' it said in part.
"Then we could see my father was left standing at the bottom of the steps. We could see that one wheelchair passenger from the incoming flight, still had to disembark.
"Following that the other embarking wheelchair passengers were then taken up in the lift.
"My father was still standing alone at the bottom of the stairs. This is somebody whose strength was going to be needed for the stair climb.
"It was galling to think that while he waited for his turn to board, he could have been sitting in one of the two empty wheelchairs that were back at the terminal gate.
"Eventually, my father commenced the stair climb, with crutches dangling from the elbows and nobody assisting him!
"We watched in trepidation as he slowly made his way up the steps. It was a an excruciating experience to watch, that seemed to take an eternity, and all the time we were hoping that nothing would go wrong."
"Fortunately it did not."