The crazed man accused of trying to open an emergency door and stab a flight attendant on a United Airlines flight was only stopped after five or six other passengers held him down, it was revealed Tuesday — as new details emerged of the wild scene that unfolded aboard the plane.
Francisco Severo Torres, 33, struggled so mightily that flyers reportedly had to swap turns keeping him under control — and even tried to place him in zip ties — near the end of the chaotic Los Angeles to Boston flight on Sunday.
Passenger Simik Ghookasian said he was one of several fliers to take down Torres after the unhinged suspect allegedly launched at a flight attendant with a broken metal spoon.
“That guy was really strong and was really resisting,” Ghookasian said. “We had a hard time holding him down. It was total teamwork.”
A photo shows a scrum where several passengers held the man down.
Ghookasian, a government contractor who has counter-terrorism training, said he thought the man was yelling due to an argument — until he began making wild threats.
“Everything just exploded in a few seconds,” Ghookasian said.
Before Torres’ alleged attack, he was suspected of attempting to open an emergency door on the plane after a flight attendant saw a side door handle was moved with less than hour left in the trip, according to federal prosecutors.
The Leominster, Massachusetts, man allegedly told authorities he wanted to jump out of the plane, and also admitted he knew others would die if he successfully opened the door, according to court documents.
Video of the incident emerged late Monday showing a man going on a muddled rant before charging at a flight attendant.
The woman who shot footage said the man only got more agitated when other passengers approached him to calm him down.
“A woman tried to approach him and say that he was scaring the passengers,” Lisa Olsen told CNN on Tuesday morning. “He didn’t care, he was getting louder.”
After passengers sat on top of him, there was an attempt to zip tie him, but Torres was able to escape from those and had to be zip tied again, she said.
Soon, passengers were taking their belts off in case they needed to use those as restraints to keep him detained until the plane landed at Logan International Airport, she told the network.
“As the men were getting tired from restraining him they kind of swapped out and ones that were tired would come back to sit down – people were thanking them and very appreciative that they jumped into action so quickly,” Olsen said.
It appears Torres has had mental health troubles in the past.
He sued two mental health facilities in 2021 and 2022 where he was a patient, according to federal court records. In one of the lawsuits, he claimed his constitutional rights were violated because he was a vegan and was denied almond milk. Both suits — in which he acted as his own lawyer — were quickly dismissed.
Torres is charged with interference and attempted interference with flight crew members and attendants using a deadly weapon in the plane incident.
Following his arrest, he allegedly tried to attack two jail guards, sources told WCVB Tuesday. He’s being held at the Wyatt Detention Facility in Central Falls, Rhode Island, ahead of his next hearing, the station reported.
He could face life in prison if convicted of the federal charges.
With Post wires