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Passenger dragged off flight settles lawsuit with United airlines

Mirror logo Mirror 27/04/2017 Kelly-Ann Mills

Video provided by Reuters

The United Airlines passenger dragged off an overbooked flight by security officers has reached a settlement with the airline for an undisclosed sum.

Dr David Dao, 69, suffered serious injuries, including a concussion and broken nose, in the incident which was captured on camera by fellow passengers and sparked a PR disaster for the airline.

The settlement comes just days after Thomas Demetrio, a lawyer for the Vietnamese-American doctor, said he would file a lawsuit against the carrier over the April 9 incident.

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Dao suffered the injuries and was dragged off the plane after he and three other passengers were told they had to give up their seats for United employees on the short-haul flight from Chicago to Louisville.

Mobile phone captured by passengers showed Dao refusing to leave, telling those on board he had to return to Kentucky because he had patients to see. He and his wife had been on holiday in California.

A video showed him being forcibly removed from his seat and dragged off the plane bloodied and apparently unconscious.

Additional video showed him returning to the plane with his face covered in blood, telling officers: "Just kill me."

Dao's lawyer later said he suffered a concussion and broken nose, and lost two teeth.

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An incident report filed by one of the security officers involved claimed that "minimal but necessary force" was used to remove Dao because he reacted "violently" after refusing to leave his seat.

The report also claimed that Dao inflicted the injuries himself as he resisted.

The officer, Mauricio Rodriguez Jr, wrote that Dao was asked to leave the plane, but responded: "I'm not leaving this flight that I paid money for. I don't care if I get arrested."

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According to a report, James Long, the officer who dragged Dao out of his seat, claimed the passenger "refused to leave" and "folded his arms tightly".

He also claimed that when he grabbed Dao the doctor started "swinging his arms up and down with a closed fist" and was "flailing and fighting".

Rodriguez's report claimed Dao knocked one of Long's hands away, causing him to fall and hit his mouth on the armrest.

Long, Rodriguez and two other officers - Stephen Smith and Sgt John Moore - were placed on leave as the incident led to a backlash against United after it blamed the passenger for being disruptive.

The airline's stock price plummeted amid a PR fiasco, which forced CEO Oscar Munoz to issued multiple public apologies.

But after one of the apologies, he sent a letter to staff lauding the flight crew for following procedures as it dealt with a "disruptive and belligerent" passenger.

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Earlier, Demetrio said passengers should not be 'bullied or treated like cattle'.

He spoke at a press conference and said that the treatment of Dr Dao should not be the norm that passengers expect.

Demetrio told reporters: "He's the guy to stand up for passengers, going forward.

"What do we do, we take money from people, we let them sit on the airplane, seatbelted, are we really going just start taking them off then.

"Is that what we want as a society?"

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