United Airlines pilots "infuriated" by "grossly inappropriate" dragging of passenger

Two pilots walk through the United Airlines terminal at O’Hare International Airport May 31, 2005 in Chicago, Illinois. 

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CHICAGO -- United Airlines pilots want it known that they had nothing to do with the incident in which a passenger was violently dragged off a United Express plane in Chicago.

In a statement, the pilots union says that the forcible removal of Dr. David Dao by O’Hare International Airport security officials happened Sunday night on a United Express carrier that is “separately owned and operated by Republic Airline.”

The union says United pilots were not flying the jet and that the four who were given the seats of Dao and three other passengers who were ordered off the plane work for Republic, not United.

They say they are “infuriated” by what happened and blamed the debacle on the “grossly inappropriate” actions of the security officers.

“This violent incident should never have happened and was a result of gross excessive force by Chicago Department of Aviation personnel,” the union said. 

Dao suffered a broken nose and concussion during the incident and spent several days in the hospital, his attorney Thomas Demetrio said Thursday. He added that Dao is likely to pursue legal action against the airline.

United CEO Oscar Munoz has apologized to Dao and the other passengers on the aircraft.