(WWJ/AP) – A dog has died on a United Airlines flight from Houston to New York after a flight attendant ordered a passenger to store it in the plane’s overhead bin.
United said it was taking responsibility for the incident on the Monday night flight, saying that bags containing pets should never be put in the overhead storage compartment.
Passengers say they heard barking during the flight and didn’t know that the dog had died until the plane landed at LaGuardia Airport; one witness writing in a Facebook post that the dog’s owner was “crying in the airplane aisle on the floor.” Other passengers posted photos of the customer and her children after the flight.
United, which is based in Chicago, said Tuesday that it is investigating the incident and talking to the flight attendant.
In a statement, United spokesman Charlie Hobart called it “a tragic accident that should never have occurred.”
“We assume full responsibility for this tragedy and express our deepest condolences to the family and are committed to supporting them,” the airline’s statement continued. “We are thoroughly investigating what occurred to prevent this from ever happening again.”
CNBC reports the airline is paying for a necropsy of the small dog, which will determine cause of death, and is refunding the passenger’s tickets.
This tragic event follows several other unfortunate, high-profile incidents for the airline including one last year in which a viral video showed a passenger being dragged off an overbooked flight.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.