While inundated with bad press surrounding the violent removal of Dr. David Dao, with whom they ultimately settled out of court, United Airlines faced yet another negative viral story. A 3-foot-long Continental Giant rabbit named Simon was found dead at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport after his flight from London landed there. The rabbit was purchased by a group based in Iowa that had hoped to show him in local and regional competitions, but sadly, this will not be the case.
Since news first broke of Simon’s untimely death, however, the nature of his trip from London to Chicago has become something of a nightmare for United. Annette Edwards, the rabbit’s breeder, claimed airline officials had cremated his remains without her — or anyone else’s — permission. To make matters worse, USA Today reports Simon was allegedly locked in a freezer during the flight:
Des Moines trial attorney Guy Cook announced at a press conference on Monday that the owners are demanding an independent investigation into Simon’s death. At least one airline employee has reportedly said that Simon may have been inadvertently locked in a freezer for up to 16 hours after arriving in Chicago.
In addition, Cook equated United’s decision to cremate the remains to “destroying evidence” since no autopsy can be performed to determine the cause of death. “Whatever the cause of Simon’s death may be, Simon died in the care of United Airlines,” he continued in a statement. “Its decision to destroy his remains establishes a reckless disregard for the Simon Group’s rights and are indicative of the negligent care United Airlines provided Simon.”
Aside from the investigation, the Iowa group Cook represents is also demanding United cover the “economic loss” suffered following Simon’s death. This includes the costs of his original purchase and shipping, as well as other associated expenses. The airline has seven days to respond before the group files suit.
(Via USA Today)