United Airlines flight diverted after dog 'mistakenly' placed on the plane

United Airlines(ST. LOUIS) -- A third mishap involving a pet on a United Airlines flight has occurred in less than a week.

A flight from Newark to St. Louis was diverted Thursday after the airline realized that a dog was "mistakenly" loaded onto the plane, United Airlines said in a statement.

The dog was dropped off in Akron, Ohio, and was later "safely delivered" to its owner, the airline said. It is unclear where the reunion took place.

United provided compensation to all of the customers onboard the diverted Flight 3996, it said.

The mix-up was the third incident involving a pet on a United Airlines flight in just a week.

On Monday, a 10-month-old French bulldog puppy named Kokito died aboard a United Airlines flight from Houston to New York after a flight attendant ordered the owner to place the dog's carrier -- with the dog still inside -- in the overheard bin because it was blocking the aisle.

United said in a statement that the flight attendant did not realize the dog was inside the carrier because she did not hear the passenger's warning. It also said it would implement a new policy next month in which brightly colored tags will be issued to customers traveling with animals.

Prosecutors from the Harris County District Attorney's Office in Houston announced Thursday that they were reviewing Kokito's death to see whether animal cruelty charges are warranted.

On Tuesday, a 10-year-old German Shepard named Irgo was flown to Japan instead of its intended destination in Kansas City, Missouri, the airline said.

When Irgo's owner, Kara Swindle, went to pick him up, a "beautiful Great Dane" was waiting for her instead, she told ABC News.

It turned out United had actually sent two dogs to the wrong destination during connections in Denver, the airline said in a statement.

Irgo was flown back to the U.S. in first class, Swindle said, but she is considering taking legal action against the airline.

“I don’t want this to ever happen again,” she said. “I want to make sure that they actually do something to stop all of this and make sure that no one has to go through this.”

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Father, toddler kicked off Southwest Airlines flight, video shows

Ingram Publishing/Thinkstock(CHICAGO) -- Video shows a father and his 2-year-old daughter being kicked off a Southwest Airlines flight in Chicago after the child reportedly became unruly.
The Atlanta-bound flight had left its gate at Midway International Airport before it turned back to deplane the family.

Filmed by co-passenger Alexis Armstrong, the video shows two flight attendants talking to the toddler's father and another woman, after which one of the flight attendants says, "The decision has been made."

Armstrong told WGN-TV that the child was crying before takeoff and didn't want to sit in her seat.

"She was crying. She was nervous," Armstrong said. "The flight attendant had stated that he needed to calm her down or he was going to be escorted off the plane with her."

The father asked the attendant to give him a minute, and by the time the plane was taxiing, the child was sitting quietly in her own seat, Armstrong said.

But the plane ultimately turned back around and security personnel escorted the family off, according to Armstrong.

Armstrong added that even though there was nothing legally wrong with what happened, she said the incident didn't need to escalate so far and that parents can't always control scared toddlers.

Southwest Airlines responded to the incident with a statement.

"After departure Wednesday evening, Flight 1683 to Atlanta returned to the gate at Chicago Midway to allow supervisors to board the aircraft," the airline said. "Our initial reports indicate a conversation escalated onboard between the crew and a customer traveling with a small child.

"We always aim for a welcoming and hospitable experience and regret the inconvenience to all involved. The traveling party was booked on the next flight to Atlanta after the original flight continued as planned. We will reach out to the customer to listen to any concerns they have about their experience and look forward to welcoming them onboard again soon."

The father and child have not been identified.

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Nike president retiring as the company addresses workplace behavior concerns

Stephen Lam/Getty Images(PORTLAND) -- Nike President Trevor Edwards will retire this summer, the company said Thursday, shortly after the corporation reportedly sent out a companywide email referring to workplace conduct.

Mark Parker, chairman and CEO of Nike, said the company has “become aware of reports of behavior occurring within our organization that do not reflect our core values of inclusivity, respect and empowerment,” according to the internal email, acquired by ESPN, which reported that the note preceded news of Edwards' retirement by “moments.”

“This disturbs and saddens me,” Parker said.

The note does not implicate Edwards, according to ESPN. But the pending retirement of the Nike brand president comes at a time “when we are accelerating our transition to the next stage of growth and advancing our culture,” Parker wrote.

In a news release issued later Thursday, Parker thanked Edwards, 55, for the “important role he has played for 25 years and for his significant contributions. He has helped us grow and strengthen our brand on a global scale.”

The company did not specify why Edwards is leaving.

Edwards, who departs as the company’s No. 2 employee, has been with Nike since 1992, joining as a regional marketing manager, according to his profile on the company website.

He has led some of Nike’s most important innovations, including the creation of Nike+, the website states.

He will serve as an adviser to Parker until his retirement in August, as Nike transitions its organization, Parker said in the press statement.

Nike also announced that Parker will remain as CEO beyond 2020.

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Alaska Airlines pilot accuses co-pilot of rape in lawsuit, calls it a 'not-dealt-with issue in our industry'

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- An Alaska Airlines pilot who is suing her employer, claiming that she was drugged and raped by her co-pilot during a layover, said she believes that what happened to her is an industry-wide issue that is often "swept under the rug."

"I believe that this is an under-reported, swept-under-the-rug, not-dealt-with issue in our industry," Betty Pina, an Alaska Airlines first officer and former military pilot, told ABC News. "It's not just our airline."

Pina alleges that she was drugged and raped by her captain, whom she identifies as Paul Engelien, during a three-day assignment last June in a hotel room during a layover they had in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

"I trusted my captain," Pina said. "We had a lot in common. He was military and he has foster kids and I was a foster kid and so I didn't see any threats."

In the lawsuit filed on March 14, Pina alleges that Engelien invited her for drinks at the hotel in between flights. She claims the captain brought her a second glass of wine and after taking two sips, she began "having a hard time keeping her head up and things appeared to be closing in," according to the complaint.

The next thing she remembers is "waking up and being pulled on her right ankle," the lawsuit claims.

She allegedly woke up again hours later on Engelien's vomit-soaked hotel bed wearing her top and bra, but no pants or underwear.

"This is the part ... when it all kind of clicked," she told ABC News. "I saw the nightstand, and I saw my black purse, and I opened it to see if my phone was in there because I could feel it, and my underwear were in my purse ... and I am just freaking out.

"Why would I put my underwear in my purse? I've never done anything like that," she added. "That to me seemed like he did that. He wanted to clean it up or obviously this was very calculated, it's very orchestrated."

The lawsuit alleges that when Pina confronted the captain about what had occurred, he denied any sexual contact, and said, "You were coming on to me pretty hard."

While Pina reported the incident to her union representative two days after the encounter, she said she never went to the police.

Eric Makus, an attorney representing Pina, told ABC News that it is "not uncommon" for sexual assaults to "go unreported."

"Yet it doesn't change the facts," Makus said. "What occurred, occurred. And what occurred is absolutely unacceptable in a workplace."

Pina's lawsuit comes on the heels of the worldwide #MeToo and #TimesUp movements, which see hundreds of women speaking out against sexual harassment and misconduct, especially in the workplace.

The lawsuit argues that Engelien's "grossly abusive actions epitomize the necessity and purpose of the #MeToo movement."

Alaska Airlines confirmed to ABC News on Thursday that Engelien has been grounded, but declined to comment on the "open and active investigation."

"What we can say is that we are taking this matter seriously," Alaska Airlines said in a statement. "The safety and well-being of our employees and guests is a top priority. It is our policy to withhold an employee from work during this type of investigation."

Engelien did not immediately respond to ABC News' repeated requests for comment.

The Air Line Pilots Association declined to comment on the active lawsuit, but said in a statement: " ... Our pilots are committed to the highest standards of professional conduct to ensure the safety and well-being of our passengers and fellow crew members, who entrust their lives to us each time we fly.”

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Owner of dog mistakenly flown to Japan 'likely' to take legal action against United Airlines

ABC News(KANSAS CITY, Mo.) -- The owner of a dog mistakenly flown to Japan will “most likely” pursue legal action against United Airlines, she said Friday on ABC News’ “Good Morning America”

“Most likely, yes, we will,” Kansas resident Kara Swindle said when asked whether she will bring a case against United, which misrouted her dog, Irgo, on a 16-hour ordeal to Japan.

“I don’t want this to ever happen again,” she said. “I want to make sure that they actually do something to stop all of this and make sure that no one has to go through this.”

Swindle and her family were reunited Thursday with Irgo, a 10-year-old German shepherd.

"He seems to be doing OK," Swindle said. "He’s a little restless but, hopefully, once we get him back home he can finally start to relax a little."

Swindle and her family moved recently to Kansas. They were supposed to collect Irgo at a cargo facility in Kansas City, Missouri, Tuesday afternoon.

United said in a statement Wednesday that “two pets” were sent to “wrong destinations.”

"An error occurred during connections in Denver for two pets sent to the wrong destinations," the statement read. "We apologize for this mistake and are following up with the vendor kennel where they were kept overnight to understand what happened."

United had originally planned to fly Irgo home from Japan on a commercial flight with an attendant but, instead, flew him home on the airline's corporate jet, Swindle said.

"He's never going to want to fly regular again," she joked.

The mix-up involving Irgo came just days after an incident in which a puppy died on a United flight when a flight attendant ordered the owner to place a bag containing the dog in the overhead bin.

Swindle said she plans to get Irgo settled in the family's new home before taking any action against United.

"So far we haven’t talked about what is going to happen after. We’ve just wanted to get him home," she said. "Now that he’s home and, hopefully, in the next week or so, we can finally talk to [United] about what’s going to be done to fix this."

United did not immediately respond to ABC News' request for comment.

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Trump business associate: I’m only 'guilty of trying to build the world’s tallest building'

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Felix Sater, a Soviet-born American businessman who has raised funds for real estate developments on behalf of the Trump Organization, said there was nothing nefarious about the proposal to build "Trump Tower Moscow" during the height of the 2016 presidential campaign.

Sater discussed the proposal, which would have brought the tallest building in the world to Moscow, in an exclusive interview with George Stephanopoulos airing Friday morning on ABC News’ Good Morning America, just as The New York Times reported that Special Counsel Robert Mueller had subpoenaed the Trump Organization for any Russia-related documents as part of his ongoing probe of Russian efforts to influence the 2016 election.

“Eventually, it will become known that I’m guilty of trying to build the world’s tallest building, and that’s about it,” Sater said.

"Felix Sater was very enthusiastic and very tenacious” in trying to put the deal together, Sater said, but any perceived alignment of Trump’s business and political interests was purely coincidental.

“I was trying to do a real estate transaction,” Sater told ABC News. “I clearly was not involved in the campaign, nor was I involved in any of the political end, and the hope that a large transaction like that would be built. If that was helpful to his run, that would be great.”

Sater has decided to speak out in order to counter what he calls a false narrative spread in media reports that focus on his felony assault conviction stemming from a drunken bar fight in which he slashed a man’s face. Instead, Sater said, he should be viewed as a patriot because of his covert work as an intelligence asset for the FBI and CIA on highly sensitive matters of organized crime and national security.

As detailed this week in a report by BuzzFeed, Sater has assisted U.S. law enforcement in operations targeting everything from mafia members to terror threats.

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders referred questions about Mueller’s subpoena to the Trump Organization. Alan S. Futerfas, an attorney for the Trump Organization, said they have been cooperating with Mueller’s office.

“Since July 2017, we have advised the public that the Trump Organization is fully cooperative with all investigations, including the special counsel, and is responding to their requests," he said in a statement. "This is old news, and our assistance and cooperation with the various investigations remains the same today.”

Sater pushed the project in his one-time role as a “senior adviser” to Trump, who signed a nonbinding letter of intent, which promised a $4 million initial payment to the Trump Organization, to pursue a Trump Tower-style building development in Moscow in 2015. The existence of the project seemed to contradict statements Trump made during the campaign that he had “no relationship to Russia whatsoever.”

The Washington Post and The New York Times published emails between Sater and his childhood friend Michael Cohen, Trump’s personal attorney, discussing "Trump Tower Moscow," in which Sater appears to celebrate the apparent nexus between Trump’s business and political fortunes.

“I know how to play it, and we will get this done. Buddy, our boy can become president of the USA, and we can engineer it," he wrote, adding, "I will get all of Putins team to buy in on this.”

Sater told ABC News that those emails reveal only that he was “beyond giddy” about the dual prospects of a billion-dollar deal and Trump’s candidacy. If the deal had progressed further, he said, he would have “gotten to people who know Putin to try to get his blessing” for the project.

“I do not know Putin,” Sater said. “If this transaction was moving forward, I certainly would have made the effort to get to him.”

According to a statement released by Cohen in August, Cohen told Trump about the project three times and did, in fact, reach out to the Kremlin at Sater’s behest before the project was ultimately abandoned -- before, Cohen said, any money changed hands.

“In mid-January 2016, Mr. Sater suggested that I send an email to Mr. Dmitry Peskov, the press secretary for the president of Russia, since the proposal would require approvals within the Russian government that had not been issued,” Cohen’s statement read. “Those permissions were never provided. I decided to abandon the proposal less than two weeks later for business reasons and do not recall any response to my email nor any other contacts by me with Mr. Peskov or other Russian government officials about the proposal.”

Asked if then-candidate Trump could have softened his stance on Russia because he was simultaneously pursuing a business deal there, Sater demurred.

“I can’t speak for the president,” he said.

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Criminal charges considered in New York, Texas after death of dog on United flight

United Airlines(NEW YORK) -- Prosecutors in two states are reviewing the death of a dog on a United Airlines flight to see whether animal cruelty charges are warranted.

The Harris County District Attorney’s Office in Houston, where the flight originated, and the Queens District Attorney’s Office in New York, where it landed, are examining the incident and whether they have jurisdiction.

“We are currently reviewing the facts to determine if there is a prosecutable case,” a spokeswoman for Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said.

In Texas, the Harris County Animal Cruelty Taskforce is investigating, according to Carvana Cloud of the district attorney’s office.

“We’ll review the evidence and apply the law,” Cloud said.

The district attorneys offices are weighing charges after a dog named Kokito died in an overhead bin on a Monday flight. Kokito was placed in the overhead bin after a flight attendant told the dog's family they had to remove it from the aisle to clear the path.

United, however, said the flight attendant did not hear the passenger's warning that there was an animal in the container.

"We have learned that the customer did tell the flight attendant that there was a dog in the carrier. However, our flight attendant did not hear or understand her, and did not knowingly place the dog in the overhead bin," United said in the statement. "As we stated, we take full responsibility and are deeply sorry for this tragic accident."

United said it was investigating the incident. It also said it would implement a new policy in April in which it will issue brightly colored tags to customers traveling with animals.

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Snuggie customers can cozy up to $7.2M in refunds thanks to FTC settlement

YouTube(NEW  YORK) -- The Snuggie has raked in millions, but now the company behind famous "as seen on TV" fleece blanket is being forced to pay its customers $7.2 million back in refunds.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) alleged that Allstar Marketing Group, the New York-based company behind the infomercial product, misrepresented and deceived customers with its ads.

The settlement cites unauthorized charges and failure to adequately disclose material terms of the offer, under the Telemarketing and Consumer Fraud and Abuse Prevention Act.

According to court documents, the FTC said Allstar's "buy-one-get-one-free" promotion failed to disclose additional charges to customers for processing and handling.

The product is said to be available for "just $19.95" and promises consumers the offer will be doubled for "less than $10 each." Those ads never disclosed that a $7.95 handling fee would be applied to each product in the order, which nearly doubled the total price to $35.85.

"The televised commercials for all of its products adhere to a nearly identical script," the FTC said, referring to the deal the company used for multiple products, including the Snuggie and the Magic Mesh screen door.

Refunds will be mailed this week to more than 218,000 customers for an average amount of $33.14 each. The refund checks become void after 60 days.

Allstar did not immediately respond to ABC News’ request for comment.

Consumers who have questions should call 1-877-982-1294.

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Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes settles with SEC in alleged 'elaborate, years-long fraud' VALLEY, Calif.) -- Elizabeth Holmes -- the Stanford University dropout once hailed as the youngest self-made female billionaire who promised to revolutionize the health care industry -- has reached a settlement with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) after the regulatory agency had charged her with "massive fraud.”

“Theranos Inc. announced today that the company and its CEO, Elizabeth Holmes, have resolved a previously disclosed investigation by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) into the offer and sale of Theranos securities from 2013 to 2015,” her company said in a statement Wednesday.

Holmes, the founder and CEO of the Silicon Valley startup, and former president and chief operating officer Ramesh "Sunny" Balwani, who, according to the SEC, spent years claiming their company could diagnose hundreds of diseases with just a few pricks of blood, are accused of an “elaborate, years-long fraud in which they exaggerated or made false statements about the company’s technology, business, and financial performance” and “deceiving investors by making it appear as if Theranos had successfully developed a commercially-ready portable blood analyzer that could perform a full range of laboratory tests from a small sample of blood.”

As part of the settlement, Holmes, 34, will pay a $500,000 fine. She has also agreed not to serve as a director or officer at any publicly traded company for the next 10 years and must return her $18.9 million shares of stock. Neither she nor Theranos has admitted any wrongdoing.

“The Theranos story is an important lesson for Silicon Valley,” Jina Choi, director of the SEC’s San Francisco regional office, said in a statement. “Innovators who seek to revolutionize and disrupt an industry must tell investors the truth about what their technology can do today, not just what they hope it might do someday.”

The SEC said in a statement, "The settlements with Theranos and Holmes are subject to court approval. Theranos and Holmes neither admitted nor denied the allegations in the SEC’s complaint.”

Theranos’ independent directors said in a statement Wednesday, “The company is pleased to be bringing this matter to a close and looks forward to advancing its technology.”

Meanwhile, the regulatory agency has filed a separate lawsuit against Balwani, 52, who left the company in 2016, saying in its statement, the “SEC will litigate its claims against Balwani in federal district court in the Northern District of California.”

It’s unclear whether the SEC will reach a settlement with Balwani but his attorney Jeffrey Coopersmith issued a statement pushing back against the allegations, saying his client “accurately represented Theranos to investors to the best of his ability. He believed in the potential and mission of the company and its technology to promote transparency and benefit people by empowering them with access to their own health care information at a low cost.”

As for Holmes, Phyllis Gardner, a Stanford professor of medicine who spoke to ABC News last summer, recalled her coming in as a 19-year-old student in search of a mentor. Gardner said she remembers Holmes as someone who "loves attention" and who "really plays up to power."

ABC News visited the Theranos headquarters in Silicon Valley last summer. The building appeared mostly empty and ABC News was asked to leave the property by a security guard.

Back then, former Theranos employee Erika Cheung recalled an environment of unprecedented secrecy.

“I have not experienced anything, anything like working at Theranos," Cheung said. “And the level of secrecy and the amount of hiding that goes on.”

Cheung worked as a Theranos lab associate for seven months before leaving the company in 2015. She was so concerned about the efficacy of the tests being performed inside Theranos that she wrote a complaint, obtained by ABC News, to the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

She prefaced her letter by stating, "I’ve been nervous to send or even write this letter. Theranos takes confidentially and secrecy to an extreme level that has always made me scared to say anything."

Cheung's complaint was referenced in her deposition from a separate lawsuit investors brought against Theranos last year, which was settled for an undisclosed amount, despite the company’s being “confident that we would have prevailed at trial,” according to a May 2017 statement.

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How do you make a cruise ship longer? Cut it in half -- Why would anyone take a perfectly good cruise ship and cut it in half?

To make it even better, that's why.

Silversea Cruises shared with "Good Morning America" video of the dry-docked Silver Spirit being taken apart at the midsection to add a prebuilt 49-foot segment to the ship. When work is completed in early May, the ship will be 691.3 feet long.

The company called the lengthening of cruise ships a "trend" in small ship luxury cruising. The multi-million dollar project to refresh the Silver Spirit is less expensive than building an entirely new ship.

On May 6, the refurbished Silver Spirit will recommence service with a 7-day cruise between Civitavecchia, Italy, and Barcelona.

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