United Airlines reported that a 33-year-old American man from Leominster, Massachusetts, onboard the flight tried opening the emergency exit door and eventually stabbed one of the flight attendants in the neck region.
On March 5, 2023, one of the flights of United Airlines was scheduled to travel from Los Angeles to Boston. The flight crew received an alarm regarding a side door of the aircraft being disarmed, approximately 45 minutes prior to landing in Boston. The flight attendants were then instructed to examine the door.
Upon inspection, they found that the locking door’s handle was opened about a quarter of the way out of the locking position. They also found that the emergency slide arming lever had been moved to the “disarmed” position. This was reported by the flight attendant to the flight crew and the captain after securing the door and disarming the lever.
On further discussion, one flight attendant said that he had noticed a man standing next to the door earlier, and believed that he had something to do with the disarmed door. That man was identified as Francisco Severo Torres, 33, from Leominster, Massachusetts.
They then confronted Torres about the door, to which he replied negatively. He also asked if they had any evidence on camera to prove his wrongdoing. On looking at the drama that was unfolding, the flight attendant considered him to be a possible threat and alerted the cabin crew to land the flight as soon as possible.
Shortly after that, a fellow flight attendant found him talking to another flight attendant, but he said that he didn’t hear what they were talking about. Then suddenly, Torres started attacking that flight attendant in a stabbing motion with a broken metal spoon. He hit the flight attendant three times in the neck area.
Passengers then tackled Torres immediately and restrained him with the help of the flight crew. He was taken into custody immediately after landing in Boston.
It was then told by a fellow passenger that Torres had asked him about the location of the door handle in the safety card during the flight attendant’s safety briefing. He was then found gazing at the door before attacking the flight attendant.
The above statement was provided by the US Department of Justice.
According to the statement given by the US Department of Justice, Torres was arrested at Logan International Airport on Sunday evening. He was charged with one count of interference and attempted interference with flight crew members and attendants using a dangerous weapon. He might be sentenced to life in prison or up to five years of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000.
He made his initial appearance today before US District Court Magistrate Judge Dein, was detained pending a hearing scheduled for March 9, 2023.
Statement by United Airlines
United Airlines said in a statement that no injuries were reported, regarding the flight attendant’s condition.
The airlines mentioned that they have zero tolerance for any type of violence on their flights, and Torres would be banned from flying on United Airlines in the future.
It also thanked the customers and the crew for their quick and swift action.