Man, 33, arrested after he tried to open the plane’s emergency exit and then tried to stab a servant
‘He won’t go quiet’: Disturbing audio reveals how the 33-year-old man attempted to open the United flight’s emergency exit in mid-air after attempting to stab the flight attendant in the neck with a broken spoon
- Francisco Severo Torres, 33, was charged with interfering with crew members and using a dangerous weapon
- He was flying from LA to Boston on Sunday when he was spotted playing with an emergency exit
- Confronted by a flight attendant, he attempted to attack them with a broken spoon, but was restrained by the crew and other passengers.
A Massachusetts man has been arrested after attempting to open an airplane door in mid-air and then attempting to stab a flight attendant with a broken spoon.
Francisco Severo Torres, 33, was charged with one count of interfering and attempted interfering with flight crew members and attendants using a dangerous weapon.
The flight’s captain radioed air traffic control to tell them that Torres had been detained by passengers, but “didn’t go quiet,” and that six people restrained him as the plane landed.
Torres had boarded United Airlines Flight 2609 in Los Angeles on Sunday, bound for Boston.
With 45 minutes of the journey to go, a cabin crew member reported that an emergency exit had been tampered with.
A plane lands at Logan International Airport in Boston. Torres was arrested there on Sunday
United Airlines Flight 2609 from Los Angeles to Boston landed safely on Sunday and Torres was apprehended
A flight attendant noted that the door lock handle had moved from the fully locked position about a quarter of the way to the unlocked position.
The emergency slide engagement lever was also set to the disengaged position, authorities said.
The crew secured the door and slide.
Another flight attendant had noticed that Torres had been seen at the door and thought he had tampered with it. The crew told the captain that he was a threat and that the aircraft should land as soon as possible.
At that point, prosecutors allege, Torres got out of his seat, approached two flight attendants standing in the aisle and used the spoon to make stabbing motions, striking one flight attendant three times in the neck.
He was stopped by other passengers and crew members.
The captain told air traffic control that they had had an incident.
“The person has been apprehended, attempted to open an external emergency door,” he said in audio obtained by CBS Boston.
“That person was suppressed and is now being detained – he doesn’t go quietly though: he just lies there with six capable bodies on top of him.”
United praised the quick thinking of the crew and passengers.
“Thanks to the prompt action of our crew and customers, a customer was stopped after becoming a security issue on a flight from Los Angeles to Boston,” United said in a statement.
The flight landed safely and was met by police. No serious injuries have been reported.”
The airline said Torres was immediately banned from flying on their flights.
“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 the police in their investigation.’
A passenger told investigators that Torres had asked where the door handle was located on the safety card during the flight attendants’ pre-takeoff safety briefing.
Another said Torres paced the plane before attacking the attendant.
The charge of interference and attempted interference with the use of a dangerous weapon by flight crew members and crew carries a prison sentence of up to five years, supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000.