Woman, 72, upset after metal hip causes security action
A VICTORIAN woman is outraged at her treatment at the Bundaberg airport when her artificial hip set off an alarm.
Beverley Moss, 72, said she was a frequent visitor to Bundaberg where her parents, brother and his family have lived for more than 30 years.
Early this month she visited the city again to pay her respects to her mother, who died in September last year while Ms Moss was incapacitated due to hip replacement surgery.
But when she tried to leave Bundaberg on September 9, she said, her departure turned into a bizarre farce.
"Unlike the kindly but efficient security staff at Melbourne and later at Brisbane airports - where I was gently questioned, checked and waved through - at Bundaberg I was given the full treatment by an officious female officer who went into full alert," she said.
"She repeatedly barked at me to step back and away."
Ms Moss said she was then asked several times if she had anything on her person to declare.
"When I said no, she indicated my bulging blouse pocket. I was told to empty my pocket," she said.
"I complied by removing the offending tissue."
Ms Moss said she was told to wait for the arrival of a supervisor who would oversee a body search.
"In brisk and insensitive manner, I was offered a private room after I indicated my embarrassment at this overreaction to my artificial hip," she said.
"I refused as I didn't want to attract further unwarranted attention.
"I felt unwell and just wanted to get out of there and board my waiting aircraft."
Ms Moss said she was subjected to what she felt was an insensitive and unnecessarily thorough and vigorous "pat down", involving her upper body, stomach, inner thighs, backside and legs.
Bundaberg Mayor Mal Forman said he had been liaising directly with Ms Moss over the incident since it came to Bundaberg Regional Council's attention on September 18.
"After personally calling and expressing my concerns over her claims, Ms Moss indicated that she was satisfied with my explanation," he said.
"I also informed Ms Moss that airport security staff were following correct safety procedures at the time of the alleged incident."
Cr Forman said due to privacy concerns the council was unable to provide further information on the matter.
He said the council was committed to ensuring correct safety procedures were followed at the airport.
"It is of utmost importance that the council provides safe sky travel for the 134,000 people who fly in and out of the region every year," Cr Forman said.