On Sunday night, a United Airlines flight from Los Angeles to Boston was disrupted by a man who attempted to open a door mid-flight and later attacked a flight attendant with a broken spoon.
Francisco Severo Torres, a 33-year-old man from Leominster, Massachusetts, was arrested after being restrained by passengers and crew members.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts, the incident occurred less than an hour before the plane was scheduled to land at Logan International Airport in Boston.
An alarm went off in the cockpit, indicating that a door between first class and coach had been disarmed. Upon inspection, a flight attendant found that the door handle had been moved a quarter of the way toward being unlocked.
The door was secured, and the captain was notified. Another flight attendant later reported seeing Torres near the door and suspecting that he had tampered with it. When a flight attendant approached Torres and asked him about the incident, he reportedly asked if he had been caught on camera.
The plane’s employee urged the captain to land the plane as soon as possible, given the potential threat Torres posed to the safety of the flight.
Soon after, Torres allegedly lunged at a flight attendant with a broken metal spoon, hitting the attendant around the neck three times.
The flight attendants and other passengers on the flight restrained Torres until the plane landed in Boston, where he was arrested.
No one on board Flight 2609 was seriously injured, according to a statement from United Airlines. The airline expressed its zero-tolerance policy towards violence on its flights, stating that the customer involved in the incident would be banned from flying on United pending an investigation. The airline is also cooperating with law enforcement in their investigation.
During the investigation, other passengers on the flight reported seeing Torres pacing before the attack with the broken spoon.
Additionally, some passengers recalled Torres asking someone to show him on one of the seatback safety cards where to find an emergency door handle during the safety briefing.
Torres appeared in federal court on Monday and is being held ahead of a hearing on Thursday. If convicted, he faces up to life in prison, according to prosecutors.
This incident is a reminder of the importance of safety protocols on airplanes and the need for passengers to remain vigilant and report any suspicious behavior.
In recent years, there have been several instances of passengers behaving disruptively on flights, prompting airlines to implement stricter rules and regulations to ensure the safety of everyone on board.
In a separate incident at Logan International Airport on Monday morning, a United plane clipped another plane while pushing back from a gate. There is no indication that this incident is related to the disruption on Flight 2609.
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