United Airlines passenger David Dao lost two teeth and needs surgery after being dragged from overbooked plane, lawyer claims

Fiona Simpson

A doctor who was dragged screaming from his seat when a United Airlines flight was overbooked lost two teeth and will need reconstructive surgery to repair a broken nose, his lawyer said.

David Dao, 69, described the ordeal as “more horrifying than leaving Vietnam”, his lawyer told a press conference after his client launched legal action against the airline.

The Kentucky physician suffered a broken nose and lost two teeth in the incident.

A clip of security officers pulling Dr Dao down the aisle of the overbooked Chicago flight by his arms has been viewed millions of times.

David Dao: Shocking images showed the passenger bleeding from his mouth

Further footage appeared to show him standing in the aisle, shocked and bloodied saying: "I want to go home, I want to go home."

Dr Dao has retained a high-powered personal injury lawyer and asked for a court order requiring United and the City of Chicago, which runs the airport where the incident happened, to keep all video, cockpit recordings and other reports from the flight, along with the personnel files of the Aviation Department officers who pulled the doctor from the plane.

The request was made citing a risk of "serious prejudice" to Dr Dao if the order was not made.

Three airport police officers have been placed on leave while the authorities investigate the confrontation.

Removal: shocking footage of the incident was shared thousands of times (Facebook/Audra D. Bridges)

United CEO Oscar Munoz said in an interview with the Good Morning America breakfast TV show yesterday that he felt "shame" when watching the cellphone footage.

"This will never happen again on a United Airlines flight," he said, offering his apologies to the doctor, his family, passengers on that flight and United's customers and employees. He said he took full responsibility for the situation but has no plans to resign.

He admitted that he didn’t think Dr Dao was at fault.

"He was a paying passenger sitting in our aircraft. No one should be treated that way," he said. Mr Munoz also said United already has decided it will no longer call on law enforcement to remove passengers from oversold flights once on board.

"To remove a booked, paid, seating passenger, we can't do," he added.