Thursday 14 December 2017

Lawsuit looms as doctor pulled from United Airlines flight suffered concussion, broken nose and lost two front teeth

Blood drips from the mouth of the doctor as he is dragged off the United Airlines flight
Blood drips from the mouth of the doctor as he is dragged off the United Airlines flight
David Dao being dragged off a United Airlines flight. Photo: AP
United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz says the company will review its policies (AP)

Ruth Sherlock in Washington

The passenger who was forcibly hauled from a United Airlines flight, suffering concussion, a broken nose, and two lost front teeth, will "probably" sue the airline, his lawyers said.

David Dao's daughter, Crystal, said last night his family were "horrified and shocked and sickened to learn what had happened to him and to see what had happened to him".

Thomas Demetrio, Dr Dao's lawyer, said the doctor now feels that in filing a lawsuit he would be "standing up" for all passengers, adding that they have been "bullied" for long enough.

"We want fairness in how people treat us, we want respect and we want dignity," Mr Demetrio said.

Dr Dao (69) was one of four people chosen at random to give up their seats on an oversold flight from Chicago's O'Hare International Airport to Louisville, Kentucky, on Sunday. They were asked to leave to make room for a flight crew that was being flown to their next assignment. When Dr Dao refused, he was pulled off by force by airport police.

Video footage taken by other passengers showed him screaming and bleeding as he was dragged out of his window seat, across an arm rest, and down the aisle. At one point he said: "Just kill me. Kill me. I have to go home."

Dr Dao, spent days in a Chicago hospital recovering from his injuries and may now need reconstructive surgery. He has filed an emergency request with Illinois State Court demanding that evidence of the incident be "preserved and protected" pending action. That includes surveillance videos, cockpit voice recordings, passenger and crew lists, and other materials related to United Flight 3411.

Oscar Munoz, the chief executive of United Airlines, has been on television to apologise to Dr Dao and to his family. He told ABC he felt "shame and embarrassment" over Dr Dao's treatment and vowed it would never happen again.

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