Delta flight damages wheelchair of teen pageant contestant

A Moorhead teen says it will cost more than $100,000 to replace her wheelchair after it was badly damaged on recent Delta flights.

Addie Loerzel was born with spina bifida and uses a power wheelchair to get around. 

Along with her mom, the 17-year-old recently traveled to Portland, Maine, from Fargo, North Dakota, connecting at the Minneapolis-St.Paul airport, to compete in a pageant. 

But when the mother and daughter arrived at baggage claim, they were heartbroken to see Addie's wheelchair badly damaged.

Addie Loerzel, who was born with spina bifida and uses a power wheelchair to get around. 

According to the Loerzel's, the wheelchair is more than just a way to get around for Addie - it represents freedom and independence. They also are not ‘one size fits all,’ so replacing the chair will be extremely costly.

"People need to look beyond a mechanism and know this is a tool for success... A tool for independence, and there's so many people who use wheelchairs and powerchairs who refuse to fly because they can't have that taken away from them," Addie's mother Marisa Loerzel told FOX 9.

Damage sustained to Addie Loerzel's wheelchair

FOX 9 reached out to Delta, and a company representative sent the following statement:

"We consider a wheelchair an extension of a person and understand that any mishandling of a mobility device directly impacts their daily living. We sincerely apologize for this customer's experience and our Customer Care team is engaged with the customer to make things right. We will also continue to proactively work with our Advisory Board on Disability and operations teams to improve the travel experience for our customers with disabilities."