This week, a video of an attack on a flight attendant by a passenger from Leominster, Massachusetts, aboard a United Airlines trip from Los Angeles to Boston went viral.
Prosecutors claim that an alarm informed the flight crew that the door separating first class from coach on the starboard side had been deactivated. As a flight attendant examined the door, she discovered that the securing handle had been pulled away from being completely locked. Moreover, the emergency sliding arming lever had been shifted to the “disarmed” position.
The attendant secured the handle after suspecting someone had meddled with it and went to warn others.
The employee who had been near the door before the discovery pointed to Francisco Severo Torres, who was then questioned by the flight attendant. He refuted their assumptions by inquiring as to whether any cameras could be used to prove that he had in fact tampered with the door.
Torres was identified as a potential threat to the flight, and the captain was told to land right away. Then, Torres approached two flight attendants and attempted to strike one of them with a spoon whose bowl end was broken.
Torres can be seen screaming in his seat and talking about “taking over this plane” in passenger footage. He then approaches the flight attendants.
Man tackled by passengers after trying to open the emergency exit door and then attempting to stab a flight attendant with a broken spoon while on a United Airlines flight from Los Angeles to Boston. https://t.co/c3YKFFlytw pic.twitter.com/abeTaNJnTO— Breaking Aviation News & Videos (@aviationbrk) March 7, 2023
He was reportedly tackled to the ground by passengers, who then managed to hold him until the plane touched down with help from the flight crew. They then turned him over to the police.
Torres is charged with one count of attempting to use a deadly weapon and interfering with members of the flight crew and attendants. He could face a penalty of up to $250,000 or a life sentence if found guilty of the allegations.