Louisville teacher aboard United flight 3411 says incident was 'unbelievable'

Louisville teacher aboard United flight 3411 says incident was 'unbelievable'
Jason Thomas (Source: NBC)
Jason Thomas (Source: NBC)

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - A Male High School teacher says what he witnessed on United flight 3411 was stressful, violent, and disturbing.

Male High School teacher Jason Powell, seven students, and at least one parent were aboard the flight. Powell was just a couple rows in front of Dr. David Dao, the man who was pulled down the aisle on the plane and injured, before Dao was forced off the plane by an airport security officer.

Powell described the incident as violent and disturbing.

"I was really saddened by what happened." said Powell. "It was also somewhat embarrassing."

Powell, in his own words, explained what happened on the plane.

"He [Dao] refused to leave and I kind of agreed with him," Powell explained. "They had come on the plane saying we need four people to move. The shift supervisor who came on, I thought was a little belligerent herself and kind of had an attitude and she was like we need four people to move so we can put four of our staff members on board."

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Powell said the airline offered inducements to those on board. He said $800 was the most they were going to offer, and two people took the offer. He said the supervisor then said she would be back, and when she returned, two others would be getting off the plane, chosen by the lottery system. Powell said when the supervisor returned, she went to talk with Dao.

"When she returned, she went to the Asian man who was a couple rows behind me and said you have to leave and he said I'm not leaving, I'm staying on the plane. They had some words, but no one raised their voices," said Powell.

Powell said he watched the supervisor leave, go to another passenger and ask them to leave. He said they got up and left.

After leaving the plane again, the supervisor then came back on, this time with two security officers.

"Two officers came in, they talked for what seemed like a couple minutes with the Asian man [Dr. Dao] and everything was going somewhat normal," Powell recalled. "Everything was great and then a third member of the security member came on board. He yelled at the man lets go, he grabbed him and started dragging him out."

That's when Powell says things got bloody.

"What I witnessed, the man was bleeding, his glasses were disheveled, it was very alarming and disturbing to see that in Chicago," said Powell.

Powell went on to say that even if a person is paying for the seat or not, there's still no need for violence.

"What we're trying to teach our kids as a parent or a coach or a teacher is to communicate and de-escalate the situations. What they did was totally opposite of what needs to happen. It was really frankly unbelievable," said Powell.

Powell says he's proud of the way his students behaved in the situation. One of his students parents called out one of the officers.

"There was a dad who was consoling his daughter, who called out an officer in light of the situation," recalled Powell. "That was a nice thing to see."

Powell even said the other passengers aboard the flight were just as against what was happening to Dr. Dao as he was, but says, everyone is human and needs to be treated that way.

"Maybe all of us need to be a little more aware of what we're doing, what we're saying and how we're saying things. Because what I witnessed from the gate agent, from the officers, was kind of disregard for people's emotions and feelings," explained Powell

United Airlines made the announcement on Wednesday that they will refund all ticket prices for every passenger aboard flight 3411.

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