Family Of Dog That Died In Plane Overhead Compartment Speak Out
The owners of a dog that was killed when it was put in the overhead locker of a flight from Houston to New York have spoken out about their ordeal.
Eleven-year-old Sophia Ceballos, her mother, Catalina Robledo, and their French bulldog, Kokito, got on board the United Airlines aeroplane at Bush Intercontinental Airport on Monday, but were forced to put the bag with their precious dog in an overhead compartment.
Once their flight arrived at LaGuardia Airport, New York, they made the gruesome discovery that the dog had suffocated on the journey.
Ceballos said: "She's like, 'He died, he died. Kokito, Kokito'. And he didn't wake up,"
"She hit his chest so he could breathe, but he couldn't breathe."
Family's French bulldog died on a 3hr #United flight from Hou to NYC. Family says flight attendant made them put pup in the overhead bin. Stories differ on whether or not flight attendant knew dog was in this carrier. STORY :arrow_right: https://t.co/AMQBpLOcbA #abc13 pic.twitter.com/7mo605Le8H
- Courtney Fischer (@CourtneyABC13) March 14, 2018
Another passenger on the plane has spoken of the airline staff's insistence that the dog be put in the overhead bin for travel.
In a post on Facebook, Jean Lara said: "They assured the safety of the family's pet, so wearily, the mother agreed."
There is a bit of dispute about whether the staff on the plane knew that the bag contained a dog.
One passenger, Maggie Gremminger, told ABC news that one flight attendant said once the animal was discovered she had no idea it was in the bag, and would never have been so insistent about putting it up above if she had known.
However, the family say that there is no way they could not have known, given that the dog barked during the flight.
Ceballos continued: "While we were flying, the dog started barking and barking, and there was no flight attendants coming.
"We couldn't stand up because there was a lot of turbulence, so we weren't allowed to.
"She [the flight attendant] said, 'Oh, I'm sorry. I didn't know it was a dog. I thought it was a normal bag'.
"But we told her it was a dog. She's lying."
According to Ceballos, they were told the bag with Kokito in was blocking the aisle, which is why he was transferred to the overhead locker.
She said: "We were going to put him under the seat, and then the flight attendants came.
"She said, 'You have to put him up there because it's going to block that path'. And we're like, 'It's a dog. It's a dog'. She's like, 'It doesn't matter, you still put it up there'.
"And she just put, she helped her put it up, and she just closed it like it was a baggage."
A statement from United Airlines to ABC News said: "This was a tragic accident that should never have occurred, as pets should never be placed in the overhead bin.
"We assume full responsibility for this tragedy and express our deepest condolences to the family and are committed to supporting them.
"We are thoroughly investigating what occurred to prevent this from ever happening again."
However, that is not going to bring back the family's treasured pet.
"He was a member of our family," Ceballos said. "He was like my little brother to me."
Featured Image Credit: Instagram