On Sunday, a man was arrested in Massachusetts for allegedly stabbing a flight attendant and attempting to open the emergency exit door, midair, on a cross-country flight to Boston.
Francisco Severo Torres, 33, has been charged with interfering with flight crew members and attendants using a dangerous weapon.
The United Airlines plane was 45 minutes away from landing when the flight crew was notified that one of the doors had been disarmed. Upon inspection, it was discovered that the door’s locking handle between first class and coach had been pushed out of the fully locked position and the emergency slide arming lever had been disarmed.
One of the flight attendants on duty said he observed Torres near the door and believed he had been the one to tamper with it. Torres was confronted about tampering with the door, to which he responded by asking if there was video evidence of him doing so.
The flight crew reported to the plane’s captain that the plane needed to land as soon as possible, as they believed Torres posed a threat.
Soon after, Torres allegedly got out of his seat, mouthing something, before thrusting toward a flight attendant. Torres then proceeded to strike them in the neck area several times with a broken metal spoon. Passengers tackled Torres till he was restrained with the help of other flight crew members. When the plane landed in Boston, Torres was taken into custody.
Torres was arrested at the Boston Logan International Airport and will remain detained until a sentence is reached Thursday during his hearing. Depending on the verdict, Torres can serve up to life in prison, up to five years of supervised release, and a fine of up to $250,000.
Upon further questioning, Torres told investigators that he created his makeshift spoon weapon in the bathroom prior to attempting to open the door and jump out of the plane, a Boston police officer wrote in an affidavit. It was also stated that Torres knew people would die had he opened the door. Torres claimed that his actions were motivated by his belief that one of the attendants was trying to kill him.
United Airlines released a statement saying, “Thanks to the quick action of our crew and customers, one customer was restrained after becoming a security concern on United flight 2609 from Los Angeles to Boston.”
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