New details emerge about passenger dragged off United Airlines flight

A news outlet has identified the doctor who was dragged, bloodied and screaming, from an overbooked United Airlines flight on Sunday.

The Daily Mail has identified the passenger as Dr. David Dao of Louisville, Kentucky. The 69-year-old grandfather was randomly selected to be removed from the overbooked flight, and had reportedly protested giving up his seat to accommodate United Airlines staff members, claiming that he needed get back to Louisville from Chicago to see patients.

When he refused to cooperate, police boarded the plane and removed him from his seat, dragging him down the aisle as horrified passengers recorded video. The doctor suffered injuries to his face as he was dragged off the plane, and was reportedly treated at a hospital in Chicago.


Dr. Dao reportedly practices internal medicine, and his wife and four of his five children are also physicians or medical students. A woman believed to be his daughter has posted photographs of her parents to Instagram.

On Monday, the CEO of United Airlines defended staff in an internal memo, and criticized the injured passenger for being “disruptive and belligerent.”

“As you will read, this situation was unfortunately compounded when one of the passengers we politely asked to deplane refused and it became necessary to contact Chicago Aviation Security Officers to help,” United CEO Oscar Munoz wrote in the email. “Our employees followed established procedures for dealing with situations like this.”

The message continued:

While I deeply regret this situation arose, I also emphatically stand behind all of you, and I want to commend you for continuing to go above and beyond to ensure we fly right.

According to DNAInfo, the officer who dragged the passenger off the plane has since been suspended pending a review of the incident.

“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,” Aviation Department spokeswoman Karen Pride wrote in a statement to the news outlet.