FORT LAUDERDALE – A South Florida woman has filed a lawsuit against Southwest Airlines saying her experience left her paralyzed.
The attorney for Gabrielle Assouline says her life tragically changed back in February while she was boarding a flight from Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.
Assouline requested pre-boarding assistance because of a condition she developed when she was 12 which made walking long distances difficult.
According to her attorney, Assouline was on an electronic mobility chair going down the jet bridge when she was suddenly ejected from the chair, causing her to suffer a catastrophic spinal cord injury.
"She's a prisoner in her own body. I mean it's, you see her, she's with it, she understands, but she's just literally sitting there fighting for her life. It really rips your heart out," said family attorney Robert Solomon. "That's why I told the family, I said, 'We'll do everything in our power to get you guys justice.' Because there's no plausible explanation that you drop your child off at an airport, you take them all the way to the gate, and then you get a phone call that your child fell and broke their neck."
Assouline is now paralyzed from the neck down.
We reached out to Southwest Airlines, who sent back the following statement:
"Southwest Airlines' primary priority is the Safety of our People and Customers both on the ground and in the air. We have reviewed the Customer's initial account of her travel experience and have offered a response directly to those involved. Southwest will continue to work with the Customer and other involved parties to investigate and address the facts and circumstances relating to her travel experience. Southwest has spent more than 51 years caring for our People and Customers and remains committed to continuing to do so."
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