BOSTON - A local man was arrested on Sunday after allegedly attempting to open an emergency exit door on a United Airlines flight from Los Angeles to Boston and attempting to stab a flight attendant.
Francisco Severo Torres, 33, of Leominster, was charged with interference and attempted interference with flight crew members and attendants using a dangerous weapon. U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge Judith Dein, ordered Torres detained pending a hearing set for March 9, 2023.
According to federal prosecutors, about 45 minutes prior to landing in Boston, flight crew received an alert that the alarm of a side door between first class and coach was disarmed. A flight attendant found the door's locking handle had been moved about a quarter of the way out of position, and that the emergency slide lever had been moved to the “disarmed” position.
The flight attendant reported this to the captain and flight crew after securing the door and emergency slide.
A fellow flight attendant reported they had seen Torres near the door. When Torres was confronted, he asked if there were cameras showing he had done so.
The flight attendant reported to the captain that Torres was a threat to the aircraft and that the plane should be landed as soon as possible.
Soon after, Torres allegedly approached a door where two flight attendants were standing and thrust towards one with a broken spoon, hitting the attendant in the neck three times. Passengers then tackled and restrained him for the rest of the flight.
A passenger later reported Torres asked them where on the safety card it showed where the door handle was located.
The charge of interference and attempted interference with flight crew members and attendants using a dangerous weapon provides for a sentence of up to life in prison, up to five years of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000.