A 71-year-old Nigerian man has narrated how he was punched and tied up for hours on an Emirates flight which he was taking to reunite with his family in the United States.
David Ukesone’s lawyer told ABC Newsthat the grandpa was eight hours away from landing at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport when the incident occurred.
The dispute, ABC news reports, began when Ukesone abandoned his seat to use the bathroom at the rear of the plane. When he returned, he miscalculated and sat on a wrong seat.
“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.
“He also believed he was “in the right” and didn’t understand why they wanted him to move. They told him he was in the wrong seat and they laid hands on him to move him and that’s when everything escalated,” attorney Howard Schaffner told ABC News.
The argument intensified and a member of the flight crew allegedly struck him leaving him with a swollen face.
Ukesone as a result of the attack had wounds on his wrists and ankles which is caused by a rope allegedly used to restrain him. His mouth was also reported to have been taped and the flight crew allegedly left him alone to ride out the rest of flight without any food or water.
Emirates Airlines released a statement Monday morning confirming that the incident occurred.
“Emirates can confirm that a passenger on flight EK235 from Dubai to Chicago on 23 January had to be restrained by cabin crew due to unruly behaviour 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 statement read.
Ukesone’s lawyer, however, said that until last week’s two international flights, Ukesone last flew on a plane 35 years ago. He said further that he had earlier flew from Nigeria to Dubai before the trip to Chicago “with no incident at all”.
Ukesone he said speaks and understands English, but “he has some difficulty understanding” it when it’s spoken by someone who isn’t Nigerian.
British Airways in September 2017 sacked one of its hostess, Joanne Wickenden, for recording a racist video in which she was seen ranting and insulting Nigerian passengers.
The 23-years-old hostess sparked outrage after she recorded the racist clip in her British Airways uniform before flying from London Heathrow to Abuja.