A passenger is said to have tried to open an airplane door on a flight between the US cities of Los Angeles and Boston. He then attacked the flight crew with a broken metal spoon, the responsible public prosecutor in the US state of Massachusetts said on Monday. The 33-year-old now faces life imprisonment and a fine of up to $250,000.
According to the indictment, the flight crew in the cockpit received an alarm about a misaligned latch on one of the aircraft doors about 45 minutes before landing. The passenger had previously been observed near the door. When asked about the misplaced bolt, the man is said to have asked if cameras had recorded the incident. Finally, he is said to have attacked one of the flight attendants in the neck area with the broken spoon.
The attacker was eventually overpowered by passengers and pinned down with the help of other crew members. Upon arrival in Boston, he was immediately taken into custody, it said. According to the prosecutor, during later questioning, several passengers reported that the man had asked a fellow passenger before take-off where the door handle was to be found. In addition, according to witnesses, he is said to have walked up and down with the spoon in the galley before the attack.
US media, citing United Airlines, reported that no one was injured in the incident on Sunday. The airline said it would not tolerate any violence on board its aircraft. The attacker was no longer allowed to fly with the airline until the investigation was completed.