United Airlines incident 'more horrifying' for David Dao than fleeing Vietnam war, lawyer says

James Tennent
United Airlines sparks outrage after doctor physically dragged from overbooked flight

The lawyer for a man seen in viral footage being violently pulled from his seat on a United Airlines flight before being dragged down the aisle has said that the incident was "more horrifying" than when his client left Vietnam.

Video taken by other passengers show David Dao hitting his head on an armrest as officers wrenching him from his seat.Later, Dao is seen running back onto the plane with blood covering his face saying "please kill me".

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Dao's attorney Thomas Demetrio told Chicago press conference that the doctor had suffered "significant" concussion, a broken nose and lost two front teeth while being wrestled from a United Airlines flight that had been overbooked.

He said Dao, 69, had also suffered damaged synapses for which he would need "reconstructive surgery".

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His daughter, also at the news conference, said that her family was "horrified" to see her father treated in such a way.

Lawyers for Dao are expected to file a lawsuit against United Airlines and possibly the city of Chicago. "I would defy anyone to suggest that their was not unreasonable force and violence used," he said, referring to Dao's treatment at the hands of United's staff.

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"For a long time airlines, and United in particular, have bullied us. They have treated us with less than we deserve." Demetrio said.

Demetrio said the long-term effects of Dao's concussion could not be known at present and that the condition could be "iffy". "He's shaken," the esteemed personal injury lawyer added.

He also criticised United CEO Oscar Munoz for initially responding to the incident by defending his organisation and accusing Dao of being "disruptive and belligerent". Munoz later apologised to Dao and admitted to feeling "shame" when he watched footage of the violent event that has been seen millions of times around the world.

"Are we just gonna continue to be treated like cattle? Bullied?" Demetrio asked the room packed full of reporters.

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