A man attempted to open an emergency exit on Sunday and stabbed a flight attendant with a broken spoon on a flight from Los Angeles to Boston, prosecutors said.
Francisco Severo Torres, 33, was arrested Sunday at Boston Logan International Airport, the Justice Department said in a statement Monday.
Torres, of Leominster, Mass., was charged with one count of interfering and attempted interfering with flight crew members and attendants using a dangerous weapon.
The alleged incident occurred on United Airlines Flight 2609, which departed Los Angeles International Airport on Sunday morning.
About 45 minutes before landing in Boston, the flight crew was notified that one of the plane’s doors had been disabled, according to a complaint filed Monday in federal court in Massachusetts.
The starboard side door latch handle had been moved out of the locked position and an emergency slide arm handle had been moved to the “disabled” position, prosecutors said.
Torres was seen at the door, prosecutors said, and a flight attendant confronted him. Torres asked the flight attendant if a camera caught him tampering with the door, according to the complaint.
Then Torres got up from his seat and “stabbed at one of the flight attendants in a stabbing motion.” He punched the clerk three times in the neck, the prosecutor said.
Passengers tackled Torres and helped restrain him. “Torres was immediately taken into custody upon the flight’s arrival in Boston,” prosecutors said.
In an interview with police, Torres said he went to the bathroom and broke a spoon in half to make a weapon, according to the indictment. He also said he disarmed the door.
He told police he had the idea of jumping out of the plane and acknowledged that many people would die if he opened the plane door, the indictment said.
A message for Torres’ public defender was not immediately returned.
In a statement Monday, United praised the “quick action of our crew and customers” and said the company was cooperating with law enforcement.
“No serious injuries have been reported,” the statement read. “We will not tolerate any form of violence on our flights and this customer will be banned from flying United pending an investigation.”