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Paralympian Forced To "Drag" Herself Off Airplane After Being Left Onboard

Claire Harvey hauled herself 49 rows by using the aisle seats to pull herself forward.

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British Paralympic athlete Claire Harvey has claimed she was forced to haul herself off a Qatar Airways flight after being left on the plane at the end of the journey.

Francois Nel / Getty Images

Harvey, a discus and javelin thrower, had injured her shoulder competing at World Athletics Championships in Doha.

She was returning home from the competition on a Qatar Airways flight and says she was left on the plane after all the other passengers had departed, and that she was forced to "drag" herself 49 rows to the front of the plane, where her wheelchair was located.

Despite having an injured shoulder, she used the aisle seats as monkey bars to pull herself through the plane.

After waiting 15 minutes for an air steward to bring her wheelchair to her seat, a steward approached and told her she had to get off the flight – without her wheelchair.

Francois Nel / Getty Images

"He started to manhandle me and said I had to get to the front of the plane, bearing in mind I was 49 rows back," she told BBC Radio 4's You and Yours programme.

"I was dragging myself to the front of the plane with him behind me pushing me to go faster."

Harvey claims her wheelchair was located at the front of the plane, but had suffered damage during the flight.

But after the flight, Harvey found the brakes on her wheelchair were damaged, and the frame was bent.

Harvey's experience was an isolated incident, but she claims it could have been a lot worse if she wasn't a regular traveller.

"I'm very independent and I'm used to travelling," she told Radio 4.

"If I was someone who was nervous or was travelling for the first time on my own as a disabled person it would have been a horrendous experience."

As the official air carrier for the World Championships, Qatar Airways transported 1000s of Paralympic athletes to and from the games, and told BBC Radio 4 that its staff were properly trained.

Ross Kinnaird / Getty Images

Qatar Airways told Radio 4 they are carrying out an internal investigation, and Harvey is pursuing the company for damages to her wheelchair.

BuzzFeed News has reached out for a statement and we will update the story when we receive a reply.

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