Terrifying footage has been released of the moment a passenger on a United Airlines flight from LA to Boston went berserk and threatened to ‘kill every man on this plane’.
Francisco Severo Torres, 33, from Leominster, Massachusetts was charged with one count of interference and attempted interference with flight crew members using a dangerous weapon after he stabbed a flight attendant with a broken spoon.
In video shot by a fellow passenger sitting only feet away, Torres can be heard threatening to commit mass murder while goading others to try and stop him.
The man could be seen standing up in his seat while shouting at those seated around him. Then, he got up and made a threatening gesture with his arms while wielding the broken spoon and heading towards the front of the aircraft, where the attendant was hit three times in the neck.
The video starts after Torres had allegedly already disarmed the emergency exit and tried to open it, having asked a fellow passenger where on the safety card he could find the door handle during the safety briefing.
Francisco Severo Torres, 33, from Leominster, Massachusetts, could be seen ranting and raving while in his emergency exit seat during a United flight from Los Angeles to Boston
Torres could be seen ranting and raving as he stood up in his seat and threatened to kill everyone
A photo taken by another person on board shows six people in the galley of the plane attempting to restrain Torres as the aircraft came into land
United Airlines Flight 2609 from Los Angeles to Boston landed safely on Sunday, and Torres was detained
‘So where’s Homeland Security with a gun? Because I am waiting for them to point the gun at me so I can show everybody that I will die when I take every bullet in that clip – and I will kill every man on this plane,’ the suspect threatens.
‘So where are they? Where’s Homeland Security? Pull the gun! Pull the gun! You’re not going to try and stop me?
‘Where are they diverting us? Because wherever they do, there’s going to be a bloodbath everywhere. You can run away if you want. I won’t kill you. I’m Balthazar. Or put up your hands, because I’m Balthazar… since I’m taking over this plane.’
Balthazar was one of the three wise men in the Bible who visited the infant Jesus.
Passengers watching him could be heard exclaiming ‘oh God’ as they witnessed Torres’ antics which saw him dart into the aisle and announce that he was heading for the cockpit.
As he made his way down the aisle he approached two flight attendants standing in his way and used the spoon to make stabbing motions.
He was restrained by other passengers who rush forward from the rear of the plane along with other flight attendants.
A photo taken by another person on board shows six people in the galley of the plane attempting to restrain Torres as the aircraft descended.
‘Torres told investigators he went into the bathroom on the plane and broke a spoon in half to make a weapon. When he came out of the bathroom Torres went into the galley, disarmed the door, and tried to open it unsuccessfully … Torres admitted to knowing that if he opened the door many people would die,’ according to a criminal complaint as seen by WCVB.
A United Airlines plane is seen taking off in this file photo from earlier this year
While the nightmare drama was unfolding in the cabin, upfront on the flightdeck, the captain of the flight radioed air traffic control to tell them Torres had been detained by passengers but was ‘not going quietly’, and had six people restraining him as the plane came down to land.
Conversations between the flight crew and air traffic control reveal how the pilots declared an emergency.
‘United 2609 … We are now an emergency aircraft,’ the pilot said.
‘United 2609, roger. Cockpit secure and did they try to breach?’ air traffic control inquired.
‘Cockpit is secure. No attempted breach of the cockpit,’ the pilot confirmed.
‘United 2609, roger. And you’re declaring an emergency?’ air traffic control asked.
‘Affirmative,’ responded the pilot.
‘United 2609, what happened on board and is the person detained?’ air traffic control questioned.
‘Person is detained, attempted opening of external door, emergency door. That person was subdued and is being detained, however not going quietly he’s just laying there with six able bodies on top of him,’ the pilot said to air traffic control.
Torres had boarded United Airlines Flight 2609 on Sunday in Los Angeles, bound for Boston.
He had remained quiet for the majority of the flight when just 45 minutes before landing, a member of the cabin crew noticed how an emergency exit had been tampered with.
The flight crew also received an alarm in the cockpit that a starboard side door located between the first class and coach sections of the aircraft had been disarmed.
A flight attendant also confirmed that the door’s locking handle had been moved out of the fully locked position about a quarter of the way toward the unlocked position.
The emergency slide arming lever had been moved to the disarmed position, authorities said. The crew secured the door and slide.
Another flight attendant had noticed that Torres was seen near the door and believed he had tampered with it. When confronted about the door, Torres asked if any cameras showed him tampering with it.
Torres was also sitting in an emergency exit seat and it remains unclear if he went to open an actual aircraft door, or if he had been tampering with one of the windows that also serves as an emergency exit.
Other passengers said Torres has asked another passenger where on the safety card it showed where the door handle was located during the safety briefing prior to takeoff.
Torres had also been seen pacing in a galley area before attacking the flight attendant, according to court documents.
The crew told the captain that he was a threat and the plane should land as soon as possible.
United praised the quick-thinking of the crew and passengers.
‘Thanks to the quick action of our crew and customers, one customer was restrained after becoming a security concern on a flight from Los Angeles to Boston,’ United said in a statement.
‘The flight landed safely and was met by law enforcement. No serious injuries were reported.’
The airline said that Torres was immediately banned from flying on their flights.
‘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. We are cooperating with law enforcement in their investigation.’
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.
Another said Torres was seen pacing the plane before attacking the attendant.
The charge of interference and attempted interference with flight crew members and attendants using a dangerous weapon provides for a sentence of up to life in prison, up to five years of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000.
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