A Massachusetts man has reportedly been arrested and charged after authorities say he attempted to open an airplane door mid-flight. Additionally, authorities report that the man repeatedly attempted to stab a flight attendant during a cross-country flight, as reported by WNCT.
A Massachusetts man has been charged after authorities say he tried to open an emergency exit door, then attempted to stab a flight attendant repeatedly during a cross-country flight on Sunday. https://t.co/nlqJBeWMc8
— WNCT (@wnct9) March 7, 2023
More Details About The Mid-Flight Incident
According to a release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, obtained by WNCT, a United Airlines flight crew received a notification that the door between its first-class passengers and coach passengers was disarmed. The alert was received 45 minutes before the Los Angeles flight was expected to land at Boston’s Logan International Airport.
A flight attendant proceeded to investigate the report. They found the door’s locking handle moved a quarter-turn “out of the fully locked position.” Additionally, the lever that armed the emergency slide was “disarmed.”
Another flight attendant stepped in and revealed that they saw a man, 33-year-old Francisco Severo Torres, near the door. The attendant explained that he believed Torres tampered with it.
The second attendant informed the captain of the plane that he believed Torres was a threat and the plane should be immediately landed.
The Incident Quickly Escalated
The incident appears to have escalated very quickly from that point. Video footage from one of the flight’s passengers has surfaced on Twitter. In the footage, Torres can be heard repeatedly asking about “Homeland Security.”
Additionally, Torres states that he is “waiting for them” to “point the gun” at him. Furthermore, Torres states that he intends “to kill every man on this plane.”
Torres is also heard telling individuals on the plane that he is coming for them, as well as instructing them to “shut up.” The 33-year-old then gets up from his seat and says that there will be a “blood bath” on the plane.
Torres then steps out from his seat, into the aisle, and declares that he’s “taking over this plane.”
The man then walks up the aisle and is seen striking a flight attendant ahead of him. According to CNN, Torres attacked the man with a “broken metal spoon,” hitting him “in the neck area three times.”
According to investigators, Torres explained that he tried to attack the flight attendant because he believed the attendant intended to kill him.
Video of Francisco Severo Torres who stabbed a flight attendant three times in the neck and attempted to open the plane’s emergency door. Sunday Flight from Los Angeles to Boston. Video from Lisa Olsen. pic.twitter.com/hFkabrDain
— DeL2000 (@DeL2000) March 7, 2023
Video footage then resumes with a group of people surrounding Torres. It appears that by this time, he’s made his way to the emergency exit door and the surrounding group is attempting to prevent him from opening it.
A woman can be heard screaming “ow” and “help.”
The group continues to wrestle Torres to the ground.
Fellow passengers on United Flight 2609 subdued 33-year-old Francisco Severo Torres, of Leominster, Massachusetts, after he allegedly tried to open an emergency exit door midflight and stabbed a flight attendant multiple times on March 5, 2023. pic.twitter.com/708mvCSX1E
— @ another Reverend Ike (@anotherRev_ike_) March 7, 2023
The De-Escalation Of The Mid-Flight Altercation
According to the news release obtained by WNCT, flight passengers were the ones who tackled Torres. From there, the flight attendants detained the man and released him to law enforcement upon the plane’s landing.
A United Airlines spokesperson shared a formal statement regarding the 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. The flight landed safely and was met by law enforcement.
United Airlines has reportedly banned Torres from future flights.
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.
Francisco Severo Torres has since been charged with one count of “interference and attempted interference with flight crew members and attendants using a dangerous weapon.” The charge, according to the outlet, carries a “maximum possible sentence of up to life in prison.”
Furthermore, the 33-year-old was detained on Monday and expected to appear in court on March 9.