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Man accused of stabbing a flight attendant, tampering with the plane on a Boston trip

A United Airlines jetliner taxis to a runway for take off from Denver International Airport, Dec. 27, 2022.
David Zalubowski
A United Airlines jetliner taxis to a runway for take off from Denver International Airport, Dec. 27, 2022.

A man was arrested Sunday in Massachusetts for allegedly stabbing a flight attendant with a spoon after trying to open the emergency exit on a trip to Boston, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office for Massachusetts.

Francisco Severo Torres, 33, is being charged with one count of interference and attempted interference with flight crew members and attendants using a dangerous weapon.

Torres was onboard a flight from Los Angeles to Boston when, about 45 minutes before landing, the flight crew was alerted that a lock on a side door between the coach and first-class sections had been partially moved from the locked to the unlocked position, and the lever securing the emergency slide had been disarmed. The flight crew reported the incident to the captain after securing the door and slide, the U.S. Attorney's Office said.

Another flight attendant later told the captain he saw Torres near the door and believed he had tampered with the securements and that the captain should land the aircraft, as Torres could be a risk to the flight, the U.S. Attorney's Office said.

That flight attendant confronted Torres, who allegedly asked if there were cameras that could confirm the allegations. Shortly after, Torres allegedly approached two flight attendants who were standing near the side door and stabbed one of them in the neck with a broken metal spoon three times, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

Several passengers and members of the flight crew tackled Torres and detained him. He was arrested at the Boston Logan International Airport after the flight landed, the U.S. Attorney's Office said.

In interviews with law enforcement, passengers said they witnessed Torres ask another passenger to point out on the safety card where the handle on the side door was located before the incident, the U.S. Attorney's Office said.

Torres's charges can carry up to life in prison, up to five years of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000.
Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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Corrected: March 7, 2023 at 12:00 AM EST
An earlier version of this story, including its headline, said that the man allegedly stabbed a flight attendant. He allegedly lunged at and attempted to stab the flight attendant.
Ayana Archie
[Copyright 2024 NPR]