A Massachusetts man was arrested for allegedly attempting to stab a flight attendant in the neck with a broken metal spoon three times during a flight from Los Angeles to Boston on Monday, after attempting to open an emergency exit door, according to the Justice Department.
Francisco Severo Torres, 33, faces one charge of interference and attempted interference with flight crew members and attendants using a dangerous weapon. Torres was arrested at Boston Logan International Airport Monday and will remain detained pending a hearing set for Thursday.
During a United Airlines flight from Los Angeles to Boston, the flight crew saw an alarm that a door in the plane had been disarmed and, after inspection, a flight attendant saw the door’s locking handle had been pushed out of the fully locked position and an emergency slide arming lever had been disarmed, according to the Justice Department.
A flight attendant who saw Torres near the door went to talk to Torres about the door, according to the department, who asked if there were cameras showing he had tampered with the door.
“According to court documents, 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 Justice Department said.
Soon after, Torres allegedly got out of his seat, mouthing something, before thrusting “towards one of the flight attendants in a stabbing motion with a broken metal spoon, hitting the flight attendant on the neck area three times,” the department said.
Torres was then tackled by other passengers on the flight and was immediately taken into custody after the flight landed.
According to a criminal complaint, Torres told investigators he broke a spoon in half a bathroom on the airplane to use as a weapon. He also told law enforcement that he tried to open the emergency door and “had gotten the idea” to jump out of the plane, according to the complaint.
Torres told investigators he was trying to defend himself and tried to stab the flight attendant because he believed they were trying to kill him, the complaint states.
The flight attendant felt the object Torres was holding in his hand “hit him on his shirt collar and tie three times,” according to the complaint.
United Airlines says it has banned Torres from flying on future flights following this incident.
“Thanks to the quick action of our crew and customers, one customer was restrained after becoming a security concern on United flight 2609 from Los Angeles to Boston,” United said in a statement.
United says the flight was able to land safely and without any reported injuries.
“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,” the statement says.
Unruly passengers continue to be an issue on flights around the country, adding to a host of travel disruptions in recent days ranging from bird strikes, aircraft striking each other on the ground, and episodes of severe turbulence.