A male airline passenger was beaten up and restrained by flight crew members after he accidentally sat in the wrong seat, the man's lawyer said. 

David Ukesone, 71, was aboard a Chicago-bound flight with Emirates Jan. 23 to meet his wife and children who immigrated to America from Nigeria four months prior. Eight hours into the flight, trouble surfaced after Ukesone left his assigned seat to use the restroom and sat down elsewhere upon his return.

Ukesone hadn't flown on an airplane in 35 years, ABC News reported. The passenger's attorney also claimed Ukesone's "difficulty understanding" language that isn't Nigerian also contributed to his confusion. As the argument escalated, Ukesone was punched by a cabin crew member, his lawyer said. The lawyer also asserted that Ukesone was restrained to his seat with hemp rope and had his mouth taped shut for the duration of the trip.

"He apparently sits in the wrong seat and was told to change seats by a flight attendant," Howard Schaffner, Ukesone's lawyer, told ABC News. "He didn't think he was in the wrong seat and there was an argument and, at some point, he was hit."

Upon landing at O'Hare International Airport in Chicago, Ukesone was then transported to  University of Chicago Medical Center where he stayed for several days after suffering bruises and cuts, the lawyer claimed.  

Emirates confirmed that the incident did occur in a Monday statement, but defended its actions due to the passenger's apparent "unruly behavior."

"Emirates can confirm that a passenger on flight EK235 from Dubai to Chicago on 23 January had to be restrained by cabin crew due to unruly behavior during the flight," the airline said, according to WLS-TV. "The passenger was handed over to the authorities on arrival in Chicago. The safety of our passengers and crew is of the utmost importance and will not be compromised."

"We would like to take this opportunity to thank the other passengers on the flight for their understanding, in particular, the individuals who had assisted our crew during the flight," the statement continued.  

Emirates did not immediately return International Business Times' request for comment.