US passenger tried to stab flight attendant


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A air passenger has been arrested after allegedly trying to open an emergency exit door mid-flight, and then trying to stab a flight attendant in the neck.

Passengers tackled Francisco Severo Torres, 33, after the alleged stabbing attempt aboard a United Airlines flight from Los Angeles to Boston on Sunday (US time).

Flight crew then helped restrain him before the plane landed at Boston Logan International Airport.

A judge ordered the Massachusetts resident held without bail following an initial court appearance on Monday.

Mr Torres is due back in court on Thursday. His court-appointed lawyer did not respond to a request for comment.

Prosecutors said that about 45 minutes before the flight landed in Boston, the flight crew received an alarm in the cockpit that a door between the first class and coach sections had been disarmed.

Another flight attendant reported seeing Mr Torres near the door and suspected he’d tampered with it. So a colleague confronted him, to which Mr Torrest asked only if any cameras recorded him doing so.

“Torres admitted to knowing that if he opened the door many people would die,” official court documents read.

It’s alleged that Mr Torres then tried to stab the flight attendant with a broken metal spoon, hitting him on the neck area three times before being tackled.

“Torres stated that he believed the flight attendant was trying to kill him, so he was trying to kill the flight attendant first,” according to the court documents.

A flight attendant notified the captain that they believed Mr Torres posed “a threat to the aircraft” and the captain “needed to land the aircraft as soon as possible.”

United said the plane had landed safely. It praised the “quick action” of flight crew and passengers for restraining a customer who had become a “security concern”.

“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,” United Airlines said in a statement.

“We are cooperating with law enforcement in their investigation.”

Mr Torres was charged with one count of interference and attempted interference with flight crew members and attendants using a dangerous weapon. He could face up to life in prison if convicted.

– with AAP

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