Man arrested after allegedly trying to open emergency door on plane and stabbing flight attendant
A Massachusetts man has been arrested for allegedly stabbing a flight attendant three times in the neck with a broken metal spoon on a flight from Los Angeles to Boston on Monday after he attempted to open an emergency exit, the Justice Department said.
Francisco Severo Torres, 33, is charged with interfering and attempting to interfere with flight crew members and crew using a dangerous weapon. Torres was arrested Monday at Boston Logan International Airport and remains in custody pending a hearing scheduled for Thursday.
On a United Airlines flight from Los Angeles to Boston, the flight crew noticed an alarm that a door on the plane had been disarmed and upon inspection, a flight attendant saw that the door’s latch handle had been pushed out of the fully locked position and an emergency slide engagement lever had been disengaged , according to the Justice Department.
A flight attendant who saw Torres at the door went to talk to Torres about the door, according to the department, who asked if there were any cameras showing he had tampered with the door.
“According to court documents, the flight attendant then informed the captain that they believed Torres was a threat to the plane and that the captain should land the plane as soon as possible,” the Justice Department said.
Shortly afterwards, Torres allegedly got out of his seat, mouthed something, before “pushing at one of the flight attendants in a stabbing motion with a broken metal spoon, hitting the flight attendant three times in the neck,” the department said. .
Torres was then tackled by other passengers on the flight and taken into custody immediately after the flight landed.
According to an indictment, Torres told investigators he broke a spoon in a half bathroom on the plane to use as a weapon. He also told police he was trying to open the emergency door and “got the idea” to jump out of the plane, the indictment said.
Torres told detectives he was trying to defend himself and tried to stab the flight attendant because he thought they were trying to kill him, the indictment states.
The flight attendant felt that the object Torres was holding in his hand “hit him three times on the collar and tie of his shirt,” according to the indictment.
United Airlines says it has banned Torres from flying on future flights after this incident.
“Thanks to the prompt action of our crew and customers, a customer was stopped after becoming a security issue on United Flight 2609 from Los Angeles to Boston,” United said in a statement.
United says the flight landed safely with no reported injuries.
“We will not tolerate violence of any kind on our flights and this customer will be banned from flying United pending an investigation. We are cooperating with law enforcement in their investigation,” the statement said.