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A man on a United Airlines flight from Houston to Calgary was allegedly stung by a scorpion, the same day the carrier forcefully removed a passenger from a plane, drawing widespread rebuke.
The venomous creature fell from an overhead bin and landed on Richard Bell's hair as he was eating lunch last Sunday in his business class seat, according to his wife Linda.
"My husband felt something in his hair. He grabbed it out of his hair and it fell onto his dinner table. As he was grabbing it by the tail it stung him," she told CNN.
She said her husband shooed the scorpion off his tray and it landed in the aisle, catching the attention of a nearby passenger who cried, "Oh my god, that's a scorpion."
It was not clear how the scorpion got on the plane. The airplane had flown to Houston earlier in the day from Costa Rica, according to FlightAware, a flight-tracking platform.
The Bells were returning home from a vacation.
Linda Bell said flight attendants quickly corralled the scorpion and flushed it down an airplane toilet.
"Our flight attendants helped a customer who was stung by what appeared to be a scorpion on a flight last week," United said in a statement.
"Our crew immediately consulted with a MedLink physician on the ground who provided guidance throughout the incident and assured our crew that it was not a life-threatening matter," it said.
According to Linda Bell, another passenger gave her husband a pill in case he had an allergic reaction to the sting.
Linda said United reached out to her husband Wednesday to apologise and to offer compensation for the incident.
The incident came on the same day, a 69-year-old Vietnamese-American was forcibly removed from a flight of United Airlines in Chicago.
David Dao, the doctor who was videotaped being dragged by police officers, has filed an emergency court request for the airline to preserve evidence, signalling that he would fight the case in court.