Doctor Dragged Off Plane Had 'Horrifying' Experience: Lawyer

A man dragged from a United Airlines flight on Sunday suffered a broken nose, a "significant" concussion and lost his two front teeth in the incident, his lawyer has said. "That's the law", he said.

The lawyer for a United Airlines passenger who was forcibly dragged off a flight this week said today that a lawsuit would "probably" be filed.

Demetrio said Dao's family accepted the airline's apology but called it insincere and "staged".

"For a long time airlines, United in particular, have bullied us", Thomas Demetrio told a news conference in Chicago. After several missteps, United chief executive Oscar Munoz apologized for the incident Tuesday, and reiterated the apology on Wednesday while saying he would not resign.

Video of the Kentucky physician being pulled from his seat after he refused to leave the full plane has been viewed by people around the world.

Crystal Dao Pepper, daughter of Dr. David Dao, speaks during a news conference at Union League Club in Chicago, Illinois, US, on Thursday.

The attorney further said that Dao had conveyed to him that "being dragged down the aisle was more horrifying and harrowing than what he experienced in Vietnam" when he was on a boat after the 1975 fall of Saigon.

She also said the family's "lives had been interrupted" and that their suffering had been "exacerbated" by seeing her father's forcible removal from the plane on video.

He said Dao didn't remember what exactly occurred when he was removed from the flight, including getting back on the plane, because of the concussion he suffered.

Demetrio teased about the possibility of a lawsuit, something many are hoping to see in response to United's botched response to the violent assault. One of Dao's five children, Pepper, 33, called him a "wonderful father" and "loving grandfather" who had been returning from vacation in California. Munoz himself said on Wednesday that he had left a message for Dao.

Linda Bell said flight attendants quickly corralled the scorpion and flushed it down an airplane toilet.

United, of course, has been roundly lambasted after a passenger was violently removed from a flight to make room for a crew member.

The airlines has also said it would compensate customers who were on the flight when the man was removed.

They want surveillance video of passengers boarding the flight, the cockpit voice recording, passenger and crew lists, incident reports and personnel files for the police involved. "In these instances we usually find volunteers to travel on the next flight and any decisions are made before final seats are assigned and customers board the aircraft".

Alderman Chris Taliaferro says the cellphone footage has put the airport police at risk.

At a sometimes tense hearing Thursday at Chicago's city hall, officials from United and O'Hare said they are conducting investigations to determine what went wrong with their procedures. The "gate guards" became "aviation security officers" whose uniforms closely resembled those of city police officers, Zalewski said.

  • Salvatore Jensen