A passenger who was apparently heard threatening to “kill every man on this plane” before allegedly attacking a flight attendant with a broken metal spoon was caught on video.
Francisco Severo Torres, 33, was filmed screaming from his seat during a United Airlines flight from Los Angeles to Boston.
In the video, he can be heard shouting “I’m taking over this plane”.
He then stands up, walks towards the crew members and appears to lunge at a flight attendant.
Several passengers sprung out of their seats to restrain him, the footage shows.
Lisa Olsen, who filmed the mid-air ordeal, told NBC Boston that Torres seemed to be “visibly upset” and threatened there was going to be a “bloodbath”.
She commended fellow passengers for intervening and holding Torres down with zip ties and belts until the plane landed.
“So many, many men on that plane just got up and, you know, went right after him,” she said.
Confrontation started after door tampered with mid-flight
Torres attempted to open an emergency exit door during the weekend flight, according to the US Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts.
Crew members said they were alerted to the “starboard side door” being disarmed around 45 minutes into the flight.
A flight attendant checked the door and noticed the handle had been moved to an unlocked position.
The attendant then secured the handle and notified the other crew members.
Federal officials said that the crew noted that Torres had been by the door and “confronted Torres about tampering with the door, to which he allegedly responded by asking if there were cameras showing that he had done so.”
Torres later approached the same door and allegedly thrust himself at one of the two flight attendants guarding it in a “stabbing motion with a broken metal spoon”, the prosecutor’s office said.
It added that the flight attendant was hit in the neck three times.
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Torres later allegedly said he “believed the flight attendant was trying to kill him, so he was trying to kill the attendant first,” according to a criminal complaint.
He was charged with one count of interference and attempted interference with flight crew members and attendants using a dangerous weapon, the US Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts said.
It is unclear if Torres, who is from Leominster in Massachusetts, has a lawyer.
He is scheduled to appear in federal court on Thursday.
In a statement, United Airlines said it has “zero tolerance for any type of violence on our flights” and banned Torres from flying pending the outcome of an investigation.