A video was shared this week of an incident aboard a United Airlines flight from Los Angeles to Boston where a man from Leominster, Massachusetts, attacked a flight attendant.
Man tackled by passengers after trying to open the emergency exit door and then attempting to stab a flight attendant with a broken spoon while on a United Airlines flight from Los Angeles to Boston. https://t.co/c3YKFFlytw pic.twitter.com/abeTaNJnTO
— Breaking Aviation News & Videos (@aviationbrk) March 7, 2023
According to prosecutors, an alarm notified the flight crew that the starboard side door that stood between first class and coach had been disarmed. A flight attendant inspected the door and found that the locking handle had been moved from the fully locked position. The emergency sliding arming lever had also been moved to the position that read “disarmed.”
Thinking that someone had tampered with it, the attendant locked the handle and then went to inform others.
The flight attendant asked Francisco Severo Torres, who an employee had seen near the door prior to the discovery. However, he challenged their suspicions, asking if there were any cameras to show that he really tampered with the door.
Having determined Torres was a potential threat to the flight; the captain received instructions to land as soon as possible. Torres then moved toward two flight attendants and tried to attack one of them with a spoon that had its bowl end broken off.
In a video from a passenger obtained by CBS News, Torres can be seen saying something about “taking over this plane” as he ranted on his seat before approaching the flight attendants.
In the video, you can see him making threats with what looked to be a weapon.
Passengers reportedly managed to tackle him to the ground, and with the assistance of the flight crew, they were able to keep him till the plane landed. Then, they handed him over to authorities.
Torres faces one count of interference and attempted interference with flight crew members and attendants using a dangerous weapon. If convicted of the charges, he might be sentenced to life in prison or be handed a fine of up to $250,000.
Whatever the decision of the court will be, he will not be flying with United Airlines in the future as the flight company has banned him from using their services. “We have zero tolerance for any type of violence on our flights,” the airline said in a statement.
He, however, argued that he acted in self-defense, claiming that he tried to kill the attendant because he believed she was going to kill him. It is unclear why the suspect thought the flight attendant planned to kill him.