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Dr. David Dao, who was dragged screaming off a United Airlines flight, described his ordeal as “more horrifying” than his experiences in the Vietnam War, his lawyer says.

The 69-year-old Vietnamese-American physician lost two front teeth and suffered a broken nose and “significant” concussion in the incident.

David Dao’s daughter, Crystal Dao Pepper, told the news conference in Chicago they are “sickened” by his treatment.

Video of the incident has been watched millions of times online.

Law enforcement officials dragged Dr. David Dao off Sunday evening’s Chicago to Louisville, Kentucky, flight because it was fully booked, and the airline wanted four passengers to make way for staff members.

The man had refused to leave, saying he needed to go home to see his patients.

Lawyer Thomas Demetrio told journalists on April 13: “He [Dr. David Dao] said that he left Vietnam in 1975 when Saigon fell and he was on a boat and he said he was terrified.

“He said that being dragged down the aisle was more horrifying and harrowing than what he experienced when leaving Vietnam.”

Crystal Dao Pepper, who lives in suburban Chicago, said: “What happened to my dad should have never happened to any human being, regardless of the circumstance.

“We were horrified and shocked and sickened to learn what happened to him and to see what happened to him.”

Image source Twitter

Dr. David Dao’s lawyers have filed an emergency court request for the airline to preserve evidence ahead of a hearing on April 17.

The filing with an Illinois state court demands that United Airlines and the city of Chicago preserve all surveillance videos, cockpit voice recordings, passenger and crew lists related to the flight.

The airline said it would refund the ticket costs of all passengers on April 9 flight.

Dr. David Dao was released on April 12 from a Chicago hospital, his lawyer said, adding that he planned to have reconstructive surgery.

Thomas Demetrio, and a second lawyer for David Dao, said that neither they nor the Dao family had heard from United Airlines yet.

“For a long time airlines, United in particular, have bullied us,” Thomas Demetrio told the press conference.

“We want respect and we want dignity, that’s it! Not a big deal.”

The lawyer said he did not believe Dr. Dao’s race played a factor, despite an email he had received suggesting he was “the modern day, Asian Rosa Parks”, a reference to the civil rights activist who refused to give up her seat on an Alabama bus in 1955.

Thomas Demetrio also said the family had not heard from United yet.

However, United said in a statement that its chief executive, Oscar Munoz, and the company had “called Dr. Dao on numerous occasions to express our heartfelt and deepest apologies”.

The airline did not comment on the potential litigation.

On April 12, United’s CEO Oscar Munoz said he felt “shame and embarrassment” and vowed it would never happen again.

More than 150,000 thousand people have signed online petitions calling for Oscar Munoz to resign, but he has refused to do so.

Oscar Munoz said Dr. David Dao had not been at fault, adding “no one should be treated that way. Period.”

However, Oscar Munoz initially described Dr. Dao as “disruptive and belligerent”.

United Airlines has confirmed it is offering compensation to customers on United Flight 3411 for their flights.

Three aviation security officers involved in removing Dr. David Dao from the plane have been “placed on leave”, says the Chicago Department of Aviation.

The US Department of Transportation is reviewing whether United Airlines complied with rules on booking.


United Airlines President and CEO Oscar Munoz has apologized for the “truly horrific” incident in which a passenger was forcibly dragged, screaming, from a flight.

The airline boss said he “continues to be disturbed” by the incident, captured on a video that went viral on Twitter.

Oscar Munoz said the company would “fix what’s broken so it never happens again”.

The family of the passenger, David Dao, issued a statement expressing gratitude for the “outpouring of support”.

David Dao, 69, is undergoing treatment at a Chicago hospital.

The footage taken inside the plane shows a man being pulled out of his seat and dragged, screaming, down the aisle. He is later seen with blood on his face.

Image source Twitter

The flight from Chicago to Louisville, Kentucky, on April 9 had been fully booked, United spokesman Jonathan Guerin told USA Today. The airline wanted to get four passengers to leave the flight to make room for four staff members who were needed in Louisville the next day.

United Airlines had previously described the flight as overbooked.

Three passengers agreed to leave the plane.

But Dr. David Dao said he worked in a hospital and needed to see his patients the next day, an eyewitness tweeted.

A video that appears to show the passenger dazed and with blood around his mouth, saying “just kill me”, having run back on the plane, also emerged online.

Earlier, Oscar Munoz had defended employees’ conduct and said the passenger had been “disruptive and belligerent”. Employees were “left with no choice but to call Chicago Aviation Security Officers to assist in removing the customer from the flight”, he added.

Oscar Munoz came under intense criticism online and the incident reached the ears of the White House press secretary, Sean Spicer, who called it “troubling”.

The statement released on behalf of Dr. David Dao said the family “wants the world to know that they are very appreciative of the outpouring of prayers, concern and support they have received”.

It said the family was at present only concerned with David Dao’s medical care and would not be making further statements until he was discharged.

One of the aviation security officers involved in removing Dr. Dao from the plane has been “placed on leave”, the Chicago Department of Aviation said, and his actions were “obviously not condoned by the department”.

It also said it would carry out a review into the incident, which it said was “not in accordance with our standard operating procedure”.

The US Department of Transportation is reviewing whether United complied with rules on overbooking.

Media say David Dao is a medical doctor from Elizabethtown, Kentucky.

United Airlines earlier said it was trying to talk to him directly in order to “further address and resolve this situation”.

United’s parent company’s share price plummeted on April 11.

Stock in United Continental Holdings dropped by more than 4% at one point with nearly $1 billion wiped off its value, but the share prices later recovered and were down just 1% when markets closed.


United Airlines chairman and CEO Jeff Smisek has resigned amid a corruption investigation.

Two other executives of the US’s third largest airline also quit.

According to media reports, federal authorities are investigating whether Jeff Smisek sanctioned a money-losing flight to benefit the head of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.Jeff Smisek United Airlines corruption investigation

United Airlines said that it was cooperating with investigators.

At the time the route operated from Newark, New Jersey, to Columbia, South Carolina, United was lobbying for improvements at Newark Liberty International Airport, which the Port Authority owns.

Former Port Authority Chairman David Samson owned a vacation home in Columbia at the time.

United launched the twice weekly, direct flight route shortly after David Samson was appointed and canceled it after he left the Port Authority.

Oscar Munoz, the chief operating officer CSX Corp, was named Jeff Smisek’s replacement as CEO.