The man — who reportedly said he was a doctor and needed to get back to see patients in the morning — was forcibly removed after United overbooked a Sunday evening flight from Chicago to Louisville. According to passengers, United boarded the plane, and after no one accepted its offer to voluntarily give up their seats for four crew members, the airline said a computer would randomly select people. The man refused to leave, which led to security personnel dragging him from his seat.
The video matches the account of Audra D. Bridges, who posted one of the original videos of the incident and gave an interview to the Louisville Courier-Journal. Via Bridges’ account:
The man was able to get back on the plane after initially being taken off — his face was bloody and he seemed disoriented, Bridges said, and he ran to the back of the plane. Passengers asked to get off the plane as a medical crew came on to deal with the passenger, she said, and passengers were then told to go back to the gate so that officials could “tidy up” the plane before taking off.
“The incident on United flight 3411 was not in accordance with our standard operating procedure and the actions of the aviation security officer are obviously not condoned by the Department,” said a spokesperson for the Chicago Department of Aviation in a statement to Yahoo News. “That officer has been placed on leave effective today pending a thorough review of the situation.”
“This is an upsetting event to all of us here at United,” said United CEO Oscar Munoz in a statement Monday afternoon. “I apologize for having to re-accommodate these customers. Our team is moving with a sense of urgency to work with the authorities and conduct our own detailed review of what happened. We are also reaching out to this passenger to talk directly with him to address and resolve this situation.”
The Chicago Police Department issued a statement saying the man fell into the armrest and injured himself.