Shocking footage has emerged from the United States showing a United Airlines passenger being violently removed and dragged from his seat before take-off.
Videos posted to Facebook, YouTube and Twitter show the man’s head being slammed against an armrest, before he is manhandled and dragged along the plane’s aisle.
His crime? Refusing to give up his seat after being randomly selected to make place for four crew members.
According to reports coming out of United Airlines, passengers were asked to volunteer their spots, and when that didn’t happen, four were selected at random.
As it turns out, the manhandled passenger is a doctor and was desperate to return home to his patients. In the video he can be heard screaming while other passengers look on and voice their obvious horror at the situation.
Cries of “oh my God!” and “what are you doing?” can be heard ringing out around the scene, continuing as the man is dragged –seemingly unconsciously – along the aisle by authorities.
Another video shows the man, clearly dazed and traumatised, repeatedly saying “I want to go home”.
United Airlines’ CEO, Oscar Munoz, has defended his staff’s actions, but has also stated that an investigation into the incident has been launched.
He claims that the man had become “belligerent” after being asked to disembark, warranting the presence of security authorities.
The airline has received heavy criticism for its handling of the incident. According to reports, the flight did eventually take off, but without the man on board.
“Our team is moving with a sense of urgency to work with the authorities and conduct our own detailed review of what happened,” says the CEO.
“We are also reaching out to this passenger to talk directly to him and further address and resolve this situation.”