Man on LA-Boston flight tried stabbing flight attendant: DOJ
LOS ANGELES - A Massachusetts man has been arrested and charged for allegedly trying to stab a United Airlines flight attendant in the neck and attempting to open an emergency exit door midflight, according to the U.S District Attorney's Office.
The alleged incident happened Sunday on a United Airlines flight from Los Angeles to Boston, officials said.
The suspect, 33-year-old Francisco Severo Torres of Leominster, Mass., allegedly tampered with the door, moving the door's locking handle from fully locked to the "disarmed" position, officials said. He was confronted by a flight attendant, who informed the captain that they believed Torres was a threat to the aircraft and that the plane needed to be landed as soon as possible.
Charging documents revealed Torres allegedly got out of his seat and threw himself in the direction of one of the fight attendants in a stabbing motion with a broken metal spoon, hitting the flight attendant on the neck three times, authorities said.
Passengers were able to tackle Torres, and he was restrained with the help of the flight crew.
He was taken into custody once the plane arrived in Boston.
Witnesses later told authorities that Torres had asked a fellow passenger where on the safety card it showed where the door handle was located and that Torres was seen pacing in a galley before allegedly attacking the flight attendant.
Torres is charged with one count of interference and attempted interference with flight crew members and attendants using a dangerous weapon. If convicted, he faces a sentence of up to life in prison, up to five years of supervised release, and a fine of up to $250,000.
United Airlines released the following statement to FOX 11:
"Thanks to the quick action of our crew and customers, one customer was restrained after becoming a security concern on a flight from Los Angeles to Boston. The flight landed safely and was met by law enforcement. No serious injuries were reported.
We have zero tolerance for any type of violence on our flights, and this customer will be banned from flying on United. We are cooperating with law enforcement in their investigation."
Torres will next appear in court March 9.