RAW VIDEOS: Passenger forcibly removed from overbooked Louisville-bound United flight
LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Outrage is building after cell phone video showing a man being dragged off an overbooked Louisville-bound United Airlines flight in Chicago surfaced online.
Audra Bridges, a passenger aboard United flight 3411, posted the video on her Facebook page Sunday night. Her post reads in part, "They randomly selected people to kick off so their standby crew could have a seat. This man is a doctor and has to be at the hospital in the morning. He did not want to get off. We are all shaky and so disgusted."
WAVE 3 News has not been able to confirm whether the man is, in fact, a doctor.
On Monday afternoon, United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz issued the following statement about the incident:
"This is an upsetting event to all of us here at United. 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 video shows men wearing security uniforms pull the screaming passenger out of his seat and drag him up the plane's aisle by his arms. The video ends before anything else can be seen.
The incident happened Sunday night at Chicago O'Hare International Airport.
Police didn't release the man's name but said he was 69 years old and had to be taken to the hospital after the incident.
Audra Bridges posted the video on Facebook. Monday, her husband Tyler talked about how it all played out.
"The flight attendant comes on and says we're overbooked. We need four people to leave the plane," Tyler Bridges said.
After announcing the seats were for four United employees, Bridges said passengers got more upset but an attendant came back with four ticket stubs of passengers who had to leave the plane.
United Airlines Public Relations Manager Charlie Hobart said it wasn't random. They select customers based on travel plans, keeping families together and other criteria but couldn't explain why the four customers were selected.
Other passengers can be heard on the video yelling at the security workers things like, "You guys, this is not right!" "No, this is wrong!" "Oh, my God! Look at what you did to him!"
The Chicago Department of Aviation released the following statement late Monday afternoon:
"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. That officer has been placed on leave effective today pending a thorough review of the situation."
A second passenger, Jayse D. Anspach, posted video of the incident on Twitter from a different angle.
In the comments section below her Facebook post, Bridges said the man "was talking to his lawyer on the phone. He was refusing to get off, but this was very unnecessary."
Another woman, Angie Bryant, who said she also was on the flight, posted below the video on Bridges' page that the man "somehow got back on the plane. During their second attempt (to remove the man), he collapsed in the seat beside my husband and he was still bleeding out of his mouth."
Bridges later commented, "They (the standby crew) all boarded smiling...it was disgusting. We had to get off the plane so they could clean up the blood."
She said the incident left a plane a plane full of "upset adults and crying kids."
"United Airline totally mishandled this situation," Bryant commented.
Hobart released the following statement Monday morning:
"Flight 3411 from Chicago to Louisville was overbooked. After our team looked for volunteers, one customer refused to leave the aircraft voluntarily and law enforcement was asked to come to the gate. We apologize for the overbook situation. Further details on the removed customer should be directed to authorities."
Tyler Bridges said he doesn't completely blame United.
"The guy who was pulled out, he sort of brought that on himself," he said. "Once the police came, when you're resisting police force, something has to give at some point."
According to the AP, United forced 3,765 people off oversold flights and another 62,895 United passengers volunteered to give up their seats, probably in exchange for travel vouchers which ranks near the middle of airlines.
Airlines can provide up to $1,350 in compensation under federal rules.
WAVE 3 News reporter William Joy is investigating this story today. Follow his tweets @WilliamWAVE3.
This story will be updated.
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