A passenger on a plane to Boston allegedly tried to crank open an emergency door and stab a flight attendant with a metal spoon before he was tackled by fellow travellers, federal prosecutors said Monday.
Francisco Severo Torres, 33, caused panic on the United Airlines flight from Los Angeles to Boston Sunday when he lunged toward a flight attendant with a broken spoon while making a stabbing motion — hitting the victim three times around the neck, the US Attorney’s Office for Massachusetts alleged.
Other passengers quickly pounced on the deranged man and the flight crew was able to restrain him until he was arrested at Logan International Airport, according to the feds.
The wild scene unfolded after Torres, of Leominster, Mass., allegedly tried to open one of the plane’ emergency doors earlier on the flight.
Less than hour before landing, the flight crew was alerted in the cockpit that a door between first class and coach had been disarmed, according to charging documents.
A flight attendant saw the door’s handle was moved out of the fully locked position. The staffer quickly secured the door and emergency slide before informing the captain and rest of the flight crew.
A fellow flight attendant reported seeing Torres near the door and thought the passenger might’ve tampered with the door, prosecutors said.
When confronted, Torres allegedly asked if cameras showed him doing anything.
“The flight attendant then notified the captain that they believed Torres posed a threat to the aircraft and that the captain needed to land the aircraft as soon as possible,” the US Attorney’s Office said.
Shortly after that warning is when Torres allegedly flew off the handle — getting up and attacking the flight attendant with the spoon, prosecutors said.
Torres told investigators he wanted to open the door to jump out of the plane, according to a charging document. He also admitted that he knew many people would die if he was successful, the documents stated.
Torres claimed he attacked the flight attendant because he thought the flight crew member was trying to kill him, the charging document alleged. He allegedly broke the spoon in half to make a weapon.
Fellow passengers reported that Torres, during the safety briefing before takeoff, had asked another flier where the safety card showed the door handle’s location, according to the feds.
Torres is charged with one count of interference and attempted interference with flight crew members and attendants using a deadly weapon. After appearing in court Monday, he was jailed ahead of a March 9 hearing.
United Airlines confirmed the passenger is banned from all its flights pending an investigation and said it is co-operating with law enforcement in their probe. The airliner also said no one was injured.
“We have zero tolerance for any type of violence on our flights,” the company said in a statement.
This article originally appeared in the New York Post and was reproduced with permission