Terrifying moment flyer ‘tries to STAB flight attendant and open exit in mid-air before being tackled by passengers’
A PLANE passenger allegedly tried to stab a flight attendant in the neck and open an emergency exit in a terrifying mid-air rampage.
Shocking footage appears to show Francisco Severo Torres, 33, lunging at cabin crew with a broken spoon on a United Airlines flight from LA to Boston on Sunday.
The video appears to show Torres threatening passengers with the homemade weapon before running towards a flight attendant and allegedly trying to stab them in the neck.
Heroic passengers raced to pull Torres away and pin him to the ground.
The captain of the flight radioed air traffic control to tell them Torres had been detained by six passengers – but was “not going quietly”.
The passenger was arrested at Boston airport after the plane touched down.
The US attorney’s office in Boston said Torres was charged with interference and attempted interference with flight crew members using a dangerous weapon.
Prosecutors said the jet was 45 minutes from touching down in Boston when the crew saw the emergency exit had been tampered with.
A flight attendant noticed the door’s locking handle had been moved out of the fully locked position.
The emergency slide lever had also been disarmed, authorities said, and the crew moved to secure the door and slide.
One of the flight attendants noticed Torres near the door and believed he had tampered with it, telling the captain he was a threat and urging him to land the plane as soon as possible.
Prosecutors said Torres then got out of his seat and lunged at two flight attendants standing in the aisle with a spoon.
In audio obtained by CBS Boston, the captain can be heard telling air traffic control that there had been an incident.
“The person is detained, attempted opening of an external emergency door,” he said.
“That person was subdued and is being detained right now – however, he’s not going quietly.
“He’s just laying there with six able bodies on top of him.”
Torres told investigators he went to the plane’s bathroom and broke a spoon in half to make a weapon, prosecutors said.
When he came out of the toilet, Torres said he went to disarm the emergency exit with the idea of jumping out of the plane.
Investigators said Torres admitted he knew people would die if he opened the door.
They said Torres believed the flight attendant was trying to kill him – so he was trying to kill the attendant first.
United Airlines said no one was injured.
One passenger told investigators that Torres, from Leominster, Massachusetts, had been pacing up and down the plane before launching his tirade.
Another said Torres asked where on the safety card it showed where the door handle was located during the flight attendants pre-take-off safety briefing, prosecutors said.
Torres was detained after appearing in court on Monday before a further hearing on Thursday.
United Airlines praised the quick-thinking of passengers and crew – and said Torres has been banned from flying with them.
“Thanks to the quick action of our crew and customers, one customer was restrained after becoming a security concern on a flight from Los Angeles to Boston,” the airline said.
“The flight landed safely and was met by law enforcement. No serious injuries were reported.
“We have zero tolerance for any type of violence on our flights, and this customer will be banned from flying on United pending an investigation.
“We are cooperating with law enforcement in their investigation.”
Torres faces a sentence of up to life in prison, up to five years of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000.
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