Man accused of stabbing flight attendant and trying to open door mid-flight

Man accused of stabbing flight attendant and trying to open door mid-flight

Federal charges have been filed against a man accused of assaulting a flight attendant and trying to open the plane’s emergency exit door on a weekend flight to Boston.

Francisco Severo Torres, 33, was boarding a United Airlines flight from Los Angeles when a flight attendant believed he tried to tamper with the emergency exit door, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for Massachusetts.

About 45 minutes before landing at Boston Logan International Airport, crew members were alerted that the “starboard side door” had been disarmed, the federal prosecutor’s office said. A flight attendant who inspected the door noticed that the handle had been moved to the unlocked position.

The attendant, who has not been identified, secured the handle and went to notify fellow crew members. Another attendant noted that Torres had been by the door earlier and suspected he had tampered with it, federal officials said.

“A flight attendant then confronted Torres about tampering with the door, where he complained, asking if there were cameras that showed him doing so,” the prosecutor’s office said.

The captain was informed that Torres could be a threat to the flight and told to land as soon as possible. Torres later approached the same door as two flight attendants stood near it, according to the prosecutor’s office.

“Torres then lunged at a flight attendant in a stabbing motion with a broken metal spoon, striking the flight attendant three times in the neck,” the prosecutor’s office said.

Passengers tackled Torres and helped the crew restrain him until the plane landed, when he was taken into custody.

No injuries were reported, the airline said.

Passengers interviewed after the flight landed told authorities that Torres asked someone about where the door handle was on the plane’s security card, the prosecutor’s office said.

Video recorded from inside the plane and shared with NBC News shows a man screaming that he won’t die if authorities shoot him. He later entered ISL, said he was taking over the plane and was seen attacking a flight attendant near the front before others subdued him.

Torres is charged with interfering with and attempting to interfere with flight crew members and attendants using a dangerous weapon. Federal court records for Torres were not immediately available Monday, and it was unclear if he had retained an attorney.

Torres is scheduled to appear in federal court Thursday. He faces a maximum sentence of life in prison if convicted.

United Airlines praised the quick action of its crew and passengers in controlling Torres.

“We have zero tolerance for violence of any kind on our flights, and this customer will be banned from United flights pending an investigation,” the airline said. “We are cooperating with law enforcement in their investigation.”

This article was originally published

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