UPDATE: Police Release Mug Shot Of Suspected Airline Saboteur
Flight attendants aboard a United Airlines flight said a Massachusetts man tried to stab one of them with a metal spoon after he tried to unlock and open one of the doors while in flight.
Worcester County resident Francisco Severo Torres, 33, of Leominster, is charged with interference and attempted interference with flight crew members and attendants using a dangerous weapon, which could carry a life sentence in prison, the US Attorney for Massachusetts said.
Torres was aboard a Sunday, March 5, flight from Los Angeles to Boston when a flight attendant noticed the lock on the door between coach and first coach was a quarter of the way unlocked, and the plane's emergency slide arming lever had been disarmed, the prosecutor said.
The flight attendants gathered on the plane and said they'd seen Torres near the door and believed he'd tampered with it. The crew told the captain that he posed a threat and they should land the plane as soon as possible, authorities said.
Soon after, Torres got out of his seat and approached two flight attendants, and tried to stab one of them in the neck multiple times with a broken metal spoon, the prosecutor said. Several passengers tackled him to the ground and restrained him until the plane landed in Boston, where police arrested him.
United Airlines said it banned Torres from any future flights.
"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," a representative from United said in an email. "... 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 is being held pending a hearing set for Thursday, March 9.
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