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Remi Claude Arsenault's guitar is seen in this Facebook image. (Remi Claude Arsenault/Facebook)

The Canadian Press
Published Friday, August 31, 2018 10:26AM EDT
Last Updated Friday, August 31, 2018 1:19PM EDT

It's a one-of-a-kind guitar, an instrument so beloved musician Remi Claude Arsenault calls it his "best friend."

But the handmade Larrivee met its match with an airport forklift that left gaping stab wounds in the body of the vintage 1978 guitar.

Arsenault said Friday he was on his way home from the Milwaukee Irish Fest, where he was performing with Natalie MacMaster, Donnell Leahy and family, when the irreparable damage occurred.

He said he was speechless and heartbroken when he saw his guitar.

"I was shaking pretty bad," Arsenault said. "When you see your instrument in that shape, it's almost like someone in the family is sick."

An Air Canada employee was very sympathetic but informed him that the airline could replace the case only -- not the instrument, he said.

Arsenault posted photos of his broken guitar on social media, saying it was "not Air Canada's finest day."

"My best friend appears to have been stabbed by a forklift," he said in the Facebook post. "The airline has offered to pay for a new case. I think they're missing the point."

The post appeared to hit a nerve with musicians fearful of entrusting fragile instruments with airlines and was shared thousands of times.

"The musician world is a small world and when you see something like that it reaches out to all the musicians and everybody can relate and feel the pain," Arsenault said.

"Everybody has to take flights to go do their gigs, and things like that shouldn't happen."

An Air Canada spokeswoman says the airline is looking into what could have caused the damage and has been in touch with Arsenault to ensure it has all the appropriate information regarding compensation.

Not Air Canada’s finest day. While on tour with Natalie MacMaster and Donnell Leahy my best friend appears to have been stabbed by a forklift. The airline has offered to pay for a new case. I think they’re missing the point. Thanks @Air Canada #aircanada








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Who baggage checks a guitar anymore? Whenever I see someone with a guitar in the airport I ask what they do. Everyone brings it into the cabin. Most planes have a tall closet at the front. If you ask politely most Stewardesses will let you store it there, or in the overhead, or possibly a spare seat. If it means that much to you buy a ticket for it. Baggage handlers are apes. Worst case scenario you can gate check it. No forklifts or massive conveyors that way. And buy a decent case man. I weep for that Larrivee.
 

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Who baggage checks a guitar anymore? Whenever I see someone with a guitar in the airport I ask what they do. Everyone brings it into the cabin. Most planes have a tall closet at the front. If you ask politely most Stewardesses will let you store it there, or in the overhead, or possibly a spare seat. If it means that much to you buy a ticket for it. Baggage handlers are apes. Worst case scenario you can gate check it. No forklifts or massive conveyors that way. And buy a decent case man. I weep for that Larrivee.
My guess is that he was traveling with more than one instrument and more than one musician. I would imagine that a whole band trying to gate-check their instruments would be problematic.
 

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I've seen them go through cinder block walls.
A guitar case isn't a cinder block wall in that it should have a bit of flexibility and depending on where it lays will move when hit. Unless the guitar is caught between the forklift and a cinder block wall it will move some when hit and a well designed case will absorb some of the shock as well. A well designed case will have a better chance of surviving than a regular geib case.
 

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A guitar case isn't a cinder block wall in that it should have a bit of flexibility and depending on where it lays will move when hit. Unless the guitar is caught between the forklift and a cinder block wall it will move some when hit and a well designed case will absorb some of the shock as well. A well designed case will have a better chance of surviving than a regular geib case.
As one of the people at work who trains people to drive a forklift, any case was going to be damaged, due to the fact that it was anywhere near where the forks would go. A forklift with some momentum is going to go through pretty much anything. Forklift tips are generally less than a 1/4" or less, so it's not like there's a lot of area for thousands of pounds of pressure to go.
 

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As one of the people at work who trains people to drive a forklift, any case was going to be damaged, due to the fact that it was anywhere near where the forks would go. A forklift with some momentum is going to go through pretty much anything. Forklift tips are generally less than a 1/4" or less, so it's not like there's a lot of area for thousands of pounds of pressure to go.
Forklifts are also super heavy, so even at low speeds carry a large magnitude of momentum.
 

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So he could he tell AC the case costs several thousand dollars?
No--make that tens of thousands
 
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