Just when United Airlines settled one of its worst public relation disasters, after Dr. David Dao was forcibly dragged off an overbooked flight, leaving him with a broken nose, knocked out teeth and concussion, there are now allegations of giant rabbit Simon may have accidentally froze to death. Simon died shortly after landing at O’Hare Airport in Chicago on April 24.
According to the Sun, the rabbit who was purchased from his breeder was healthy when taken off the plane, and according to an airport worker, had been “placed in temperatures of 0 to 2C (28-32 degrees) degrees by mistake.” Simon had flown from Heathrow Airport in London and was on his way to his new home in Kenton, Ohio before the tragedy occurred. He reportedly froze to death after left for 16 hours. When the next day the staff went in to check on Simon:
“The rabbit was huddled up facing away from the front of the cage towards the wall. Everyone thought he was just having a nap or something. Nobody realised it needed to be taken out,” stated an airline employee.
The worker claimed pets are usually kept in a special area kept at room temperature – between 18C and 20C. (70 -72 degrees)
When asked if the airlines really did accidentally freeze Simon, United Airlines responded with the following statement:
“That assertion is completely false. Simon was cared for at the PetSafe kennel facility which is kept at room temperature (on average 70°F).
He arrived at Chicago O’Hare airport in apparent good condition at 10:25 am (local time).
He was seen by a representative of the kennel facility moving about within his crate about 11:00am. Shortly thereafter, a kennel representative noticed Simon was motionless and determined that he passed away.”
Annette Edwards, 65, owner of the giant rabbit states this is all a cover up, and the airlines cremated her bunny without her permission, so she could never find out the truth of Simon’s death. According to the Sun:
“I had been asking United over and over again for his body so that I can have him examined here in Britain but they never got back to me. All I want to know is how he died,” Annette stated.
The airline’s CEO, Oscar Munoz, tried to apologize for Simon’s death, but his analogy to losing a pet and losing luggage didn’t go over too well with anyone – garnering even more criticism:
“We are deeply sorry for the loss of anything from your luggage to, of course, a loved pet,” Munoz said.
What a mess and what a tragedy. Annette had originally thought someone had dropped Simon which may have caused his death, but freezing him and never giving her a reason for her rabbit’s death was even more disturbing the the former playboy bunny.
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