Passenger Dragged Off Plane Is Still in Hospital

Senators are demanding answers
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 12, 2017 5:39 AM CDT
Passenger Dragged Off Plane Is Still in Hospital
Protesters rally near United's counter at O' Hare's Terminal 1 in Chicago on Tuesday, April 11, 2017.   (Chris Sweda/Chicago Tribune via AP)

The United Airlines passenger dragged off a Louisville-bound flight in a disturbing scene at Chicago's O'Hare Airport on Sunday still hasn't made it back to Kentucky. David Dao, a 69-year-old doctor who appeared bloody and disoriented after the incident, told WLKY Tuesday that he is recovering in a Chicago hospital. When the station asked him what was injured, he said "everything" and added that he is not doing well. A lawyer from a Chicago firm released a statement from Dao's family Tuesday thanking the public for the "outpouring of prayers, concern, and support they have received." The statement says the family is focusing on Dao's treatment and he will not be saying more until he is out of the hospital. In other developments:

  • One of the attorneys Dao has retained is Thomas Demetrio, described by the Chicago Tribune as a "high-powered personal injury lawyer." According to his company's website, his specialities include plane crashes, and he has won more than $1 billion in settlements.

  • CNN reports that the Louisville Courier-Journal is facing a backlash for a story on what it calls Dao's "troubled past," which includes accusations of misconduct and convictions for drug-related felonies. Critics say the doctor's past is irrelevant and accuse the Kentucky paper of trying to help United escape its PR and financial nightmare.
  • The incident, and the social media firestorm it started, caught the attention of lawmakers, the New York Times reports. "The last thing a paying airline passenger should expect is a physical altercation with law enforcement personnel after boarding, especially one that could likely have been avoided," the leaders of the Senate Commerce Committee wrote in a letter to United CEO Oscar Munoz. They have asked the airline to explain what led up to the incident, and the Department of Transportation says it is looking into whether rules on overselling flights were violated.
  • White House press secretary Sean Spicer told reporters Tuesday that he is sure President Trump has seen video of the incident, reports the Chicago Sun-Times. Asked how Trump felt, Spicer said it would be hard for anybody to see the video and not think it "could have been handled a little bit better."
  • The AP reports that Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said Tuesday that the city has launched its own investigation and will make sure nothing like this happens again. He praised the commissioner of the city's Aviation Department, which suspended one of the officers seen removing Dao from his seat, for taking swift action.
(The incident is also making waves in China.)

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