RYANAIR have apologised after footage emerged of an autistic boy being forced to take a Covid-19 test before boarding a flight to the UK.
12-year-old Callum Hollingsworth had been on holiday with his family in Valencia, and despite being exempt, was forced by airport staff to take a nasal test before being allowed to board the flight.
Footage shows the "petrified" child in tears, shouting 'no' and burying his head in his hands as Ryanair staff at Valencia Airport continually insist that he take the test.
A man recording the footage can be heard saying: "A child with ADHD and autism refused a Ryanair flight even with a GP letter stating exemption. Not good enough for Ryanair."
Callum's mother Katy later told the BBC: "They said if you don't have a Covid test you can't go home, so we had no choice."
Ryanair has apologised, after staff at Valencia airport forced Callum, 12, from Harlow, to have a Covid test despite being exempt because of his autism.
Callum’s dad filmed the incident. pic.twitter.com/AHkmnTrJ2M
— BBC Essex (@BBCEssex) August 12, 2021
She explained how her son "had a meltdown" because he thought it was his fault, and starting hitting the chair and then himself.
"The staff were just ignoring us. All they kept saying was 'it's not our problem'," said Katy, who added that her husband eventually had to hold their son down while he was tested.
"Callum tried to be brave but was petrified. The fact that he didn't need this one made it even worse because we'd told him the previous one was going to be his one and only test."
In a statement, a Ryanair spokesperson said that the airline "deeply regrets" the "stress caused" to Callum and his family.