A man has been arrested by the feds after he allegedly tried to stab a United Airlines flight attendant in the neck and tried to open the plane’s emergency exit door while aboard a flight to Boston Logan International Airport.
Francisco Severo Torres, 33, of Leominster, has been charged by the FBI with one count of interference and attempted interference with flight crew members and attendants using a dangerous weapon.
Torres was arrested Sunday evening at Boston Logan International Airport following the flight from Los Angeles.
About 45 minutes before the flight arrived in Boston, the United flight crew received an alarm in the cockpit that a starboard side door was disarmed.
A flight attendant found that the door’s locking handle had been moved out of the fully locked position — about a quarter of the way toward the unlocked position — and that the emergency slide arming lever had been moved to the “disarmed” position. The flight attendant reported this to the captain and flight crew after securing the door and emergency slide.
Then, another flight attendant reported that he had seen Torres near the door, and believed Torres had tampered with the door. When a flight attendant confronted Torres about tampering with the door, he responded by asking if cameras showed him doing that.
According to court documents, the flight attendant then alerted 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.
Torres soon after got out of his seat and approached the starboard side door, where two flight attendants were standing in the aisle. One of the flight attendants saw Torres mouthing something that he could not hear.
The Leominster man then allegedly attacked one of the flight attendants using a broken metal spoon, hitting the flight attendant on the neck three times.
Passengers tackled Torres, and he was restrained with the assistance of flight crew. Torres was taken into custody upon the flight’s arrival to Boston.
In later interviews, passengers reported that Torres had asked a fellow passenger about the safety card — and where it showed the location of the door handle during the flight attendants’ safety briefing prior to takeoff. Also, Torres was seen pacing in the galley before attacking the flight attendant.
Following an initial appearance on Monday before a U.S. District Court magistrate, Torres was detained pending a hearing set for Thursday.
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