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United CEO cancels Jacksonville speech

Oscar Munoz cites 'unfolding circumstances'

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – In the wake of outrage over the treatment of a passenger who was forcibly removed from an overbooked plane, the CEO of United Airlines has canceled a speech to the World Affairs Council at Jacksonville University scheduled on Thursday.

According to a spokeswoman for the nonprofit group, United informed the World Affairs Council that Oscar Munoz was canceling his speech on "The Changing Dynamics of Commercial Aviation" because of “unfolding circumstances.”

David Dao, a Kentucky physician, was dragged off a United plane in Chicago on Sunday evening, and video of him being removed has gone viral.

Munoz apologized again to Dao, his family and the other passengers who witnessed him being taken off the flight during an interview Wednesday on ABC's "Good Morning America." Munoz said he felt "ashamed" as he watched video of the man being forced off the jet. He has promised to review the airline's passenger-removal policy.

"That is not who our family at United is," he said. "This will never happen again on a United flight. That's my promise."

Munoz was a top executive for CSX from 2003 to 2015 and still owns a home in Ponte Vedra Beach. He also serves on the University of North Florida's board of trustees.

After video of Sunday night's incident first emerged, Munoz said the airline was reaching out to the man to "resolve this situation." On Monday, his tone turned defensive. He described the man as "disruptive and belligerent."

By Tuesday afternoon, almost two days after the Sunday evening events, Munoz issued another apology.

"No one should ever be mistreated this way," Munoz said.

An attorney who represents Dao said his client was being treated at a Chicago hospital for injuries he sustained on the plane and that the family would not comment.

Dao's relatives are focused only on his medical care, attorney Stephen L. Golan said. The family "wants the world to know that they are very appreciative of the outpouring of prayers, concern and support they have received."

Airport officials have said little about Sunday's events and nothing about Dao's behavior before he was pulled from the jet that was bound for Louisville, Kentucky. Likewise, the Chicago Aviation Department has said only that one of its employees who removed Dao did not follow proper procedures and has been placed on leave.

No passengers on the plane have mentioned that Dao did anything but refuse to leave the plane when he was ordered to do so.

The event stemmed from a common air travel issue -- a full flight.

At first, the airline asked for volunteers, offering $400 and then when that did not work, $800 per passenger to relinquish a seat. When no one voluntarily came forward, United selected four passengers at random.

Three people got off the flight, but the fourth said he was a doctor and needed to get home to treat patients on Monday. He refused to leave.

That's when three Aviation Department police officers boarded the plane. When Dao refused to leave his seat, one of the officers could be seen grabbing the screaming man from his window seat and dragging him down the aisle by his arms.

Other passengers on Flight 3411 are heard saying, "Please, my God," ''What are you doing?" ''This is wrong," ''Look at what you did to him" and "Busted his lip."

The U.S. Department of Transportation announced Tuesday that it was reviewing Sunday's events to see if United violated rules on overselling flights. The four top-ranking members of the Senate Commerce Committee asked the airline and Chicago airport officials for more information about what happened.