Chicago Sun-Times

Man accused of trying to open jet’s door, attacking crew


BOSTON — A Massachuse­tts man tried to open an airliner’s emergency door on a cross-country flight from Los Angeles to Boston and then tried to stab a flight attendant in the neck with a broken metal spoon, federal prosecutor­s alleged Monday.

Francisco Severo Torres, 33, of Leominster, was tackled and restrained with the aid of passengers and arrested Sunday at Boston Logan Internatio­nal Airport when United Airlines Flight 2609 landed, the U.S. attorney’s office in Boston said in a statement.

He was charged with interferen­ce and attempted interferen­ce with flight crew members and attendants using a dangerous weapon, the statement added.

The man was detained at an initial appearance in federal court on Monday.

The plane was about 45 minutes from arrival in Boston when the crew received an alarm that a side door on the aircraft was disarmed, prosecutor­s said.

A flight attendant noticed the door’s locking handle had been moved out of the fully locked position about a quarter of the way toward the unlocked position and that the emergency slide arming lever had been moved to the disarmed position, authoritie­s said. The crew secured the door and slide.

A door in a airplane cannot be opened once in flight due to cabin pressure.

Another flight attendant had noticed that Torres was seen near the door and believed he had tampered with it, authoritie­s said. The crew told the captain that he was a threat and the plane should be landed as soon as possible.

At that point, prosecutor­s allege, Torres got out of his seat, approached two flight attendants standing in the aisle, and used the spoon to make stabbing motions, hitting a flight attendant three times in the neck area.

Passengers tackled Torres, who was restrained with the assistance of the crew.

Authoritie­s did not say where Torres got the spoon, but TSA rules allow airline passengers to bring metal utensils except knives onto planes.

One passenger told investigat­ors that Torres had asked where on the safety card it showed where the door handle was located during the flight attendants’ pre-takeoff safety briefing, prosecutor­s said.

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