A man was charged and arrested after he allegedly attempted to open an emergency exit door while aboard a flight from Los Angeles to Boston, before attempting to stab a flight attendant in the neck, prosecutors said.
Francisco Severo Torres, 33, was charged with one count of jamming and attempted interference with flight crew members and attendants using a dangerous weapon, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of Massachusetts.
Charging documents state he was a passenger aboard a United Airlines flight from Los Angeles to Boston on March 5.
Approximately 45 minutes before touchdown, the flight crew received an alarm in the cockpit that a starboard side door located between the first class and coach sections of the aircraft was disarmed.
Upon inspection, a flight attendant found that the door lock handle had been moved out of the fully locked position and that the emergency gear engagement lever had been moved to the “dearmed” position.
The flight attendant reported this to the captain and flight crew after securing the emergency door and slide.
Another flight attendant later reported seeing Torres by the door and believing he had tampered with it.
One of the crew members confronted Torres about tampering with the door, to which he allegedly responded by asking if there were any cameras showing he did it.
Court documents showed the flight attendant then informed the captain that she believed Torres posed a threat to the plane and that the plane needed to land as soon as possible.
Shortly thereafter, Torres is said to have risen from his seat and approached the starboard side door where two flight attendants were standing in the aisle.
One of them saw Torres muttering something they couldn’t hear.
Torres allegedly propelled himself towards one of the flight attendants in a stabbing motion with a broken metal spoon before hitting his neck area three times.
The passengers confronted him and he was restrained with assistance from the flight crew.
Torres was immediately arrested upon the flight’s arrival in Boston.
During subsequent interviews with passengers, Torres is said to have asked a flight mate where the safety card indicated where the door handle was before takeoff.
He was also seen pacing in a galley.
Torres could face a life sentence for his charges, up to five years of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000.