Dog dies on United flight after being placed in the overhead bin
United Airlines: We take full responsibility. Laura Ingle reports from New York City.
The seven-year-old daughter of the woman from whom the French bulldog died after being forced into an overhead bin by a United Airlines flight attendant speaks, saying: the United employee lied about what happened during the tragic flight.
“While we fly, the dog started barking, and barking, and there was no flight attendants. We could not stand up, because there was a lot of turbulence, so we weren’t allowed to,” Sophia Ceballos, speaking on behalf of her mother, Catalina Robledo, told ABC 13.
Ceballos said that attempts to inform the flight attendant of the seriousness of the situation during the four hour flight from Houston Bush Intercontinental Airport to New York’s LaGuardia Airport were not successful.
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“They said: ‘Oh, I’m sorry. I didn’t know it was a dog. I thought it was a normal bag.’ But we told her that it was a dog, she is,” the teary eyed girl says in the video images obtained by the outlet.
Despite the bring their pet on board the plane in a TSA-compliant pet carrier that Robledo should have been able to keep under the seat in front of her, as per United’s pet policy, a yet-to-be-identified United flight attendant allegedly forced the New York family to save Kakito in his career to store in an overhead bin for the duration of the flight.
“They don’t like it when he died, he died. Kokito, Kokito. And he was not awake. She beat on his chest so he could breathe, but he couldn’t breathe,” Ceballos said her mother lost response to realize the dog had died after the landing.
Although United has since claimed full responsibility for the “tragic accident” that killed Kokito and offered the family compensation, Robledo says that the situation is not about money, ABC reports.
Passenger Maggie Gremminger told the New York Times that Robledo was urgent, that the dog carrier should remain at her side, with no avail.
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“The pet owner was very convinced that they do not want, is the pet carrier above,” Gremminger said. “They said verbally,” My dog is here, no, this is my dog.’ The stewardess, in response, really, simply to ask her to set up, because it was a hazard where it was, it was a safety, someone could trip.”
Gremminger said that she and her fellow passengers were shocked to learn the animal had died later in the trip, according to the People.
“A stranger offered to hold her newborn while she sat on the floor, in the aisle of the plane. She was with her dog and rocking back and forth. Her daughter was also crying,” she told the publication about the scene after the discovery.
Gremminger further revealed that once Kokito was found dead, the stewardess, was the “actual” and insisted she didn’t know, there was a live animal in the carrier.
I want to help this woman and her daughter. They lost their dog by a @united flight attendant. My heart is broken. pic.twitter.com/mjXYAhxsAq
— MaggieGremminger (@MaggieGrem) March 13, 2018
“I want to help this woman and her daughter. They lost their dog by a @united flight attendant. My heart is broken,” she wrote on Twitter, sharing a photo of the family.
“They said: ‘Oh, I’m sorry. I didn’t know it was a dog. I thought it was a normal bag.’ But we told her that it was a dog, they’re lying.”
For their part, United’s pet policy is as follows:
“A pet traveling in the cabin must be transported in an approved hard-sided or soft-sided kennel. The kennel must fit completely under the seat in front of the customer and remain there at all times.”
United Airlines spokeswoman Maggie Schmerin returned to Fox News’ request for comment with the following statement:
“This was a tragic accident that never occurred, as pets should never be placed in the overhead bin. We take full responsibility for this tragedy and extend our deepest condolences to the family and are committed to supporting them,” she said.
“We thoroughly investigate what happened to prevent this from ever happening again,” Schmerin added.
The cause of death is not yet known, but, while the cavities are not air tight, lack of oxygen may have been a factor.
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According to a report from the Ministry of Transport, United with the highest number of animal deaths and injuries among all U.S. airlines in 2017, with 18 animals killed and 13 injured during the fly by the airline petsafe cargo program.
The heartbreaking story comes weeks after United and Delta made headlines for the tightening of the rules for flying with animals in the midst of emotional support and service animal controversy.
United did not immediately return Fox News’ request to comment on the updates of this story.
Janine Puhak is an editor for Fox News Lifestyle. Follow her on Twitter via @JaninePuhak