A man from Nigeria intends to file a lawsuit against Emirates Airlines after an incident in which he says he was bound and beaten during an international flight to Chicago.
According to ABC News, 72-year-old David Ukesone, who is a retired police officer, was taking his first flight ever from Nigeria to Chicago on Jan. 23. After a layover in Dubai, Ukesone boarded his flight to his final destination, where he was given the seat 35D on Emirates flight EK 235.
Ukesone was given his visa to join his wife in Chicago, who had immigrated four months earlier, as well as his adult son and daughter.
According to Ukesone’s attorney, Howard Schaffner, who spoke to ABC News, Ukesone had briefly left his seat to visit the bathroom and mistakenly came back to sit in a seat that was “very close” to 35D.
“He apparently sits in the wrong seat and was told to change seats by a flight attendant. He didn't think he was in the wrong seat and there was an argument and, at some point, he was hit,” Schaffner said.
He also noted that Ukesone had no incidents during his flight from Nigeria to Dubai. Ukesone also did not attempt to upgrade himself to first class or take seats intended for the crew, according to ABC News.
Ukesone says he was left with marks on his face, wrists, and ankles, and claims the crew taped his mouth shut for the flight. He spent four days at University of Chicago Medical Center being treated for lacerations and bruising.
A spokesperson for Emirates commented on the incident, saying: “a passenger on flight EK235 from Dubai to Chicago on 23 January had to be restrained by cabin crew due to unruly behavior during the flight. The passenger was handed over to the authorities on arrival in Chicago. The safety of our passengers and crew is of the utmost importance and will not be compromised. We would like to take this opportunity to thank the other passengers on the flight for their understanding, in particular the individuals who had assisted our crew during the flight."
“The man did nothing more than sit in the wrong seat. Even if he's in the wrong seat you don't have to beat the guy,” Schaffner countered.
Ukesone was not charged with any crime after the incident. At the moment, Ukesone’s attorney is gathering information in pursuit of legal action.