Simik Ghookasuan, a passenger who helped stop a threatening man on a weekend flight from Los Angeles to Boston said on Tuesday that the entire chaotic episode ended within seconds thanks to teamwork.
In a telephonic interview, Ghookasian said that he was seated several rows behind the man who had quietly attempted to open an airliner’s emergency door before trying to stab a flight attendant with a broken metal spoon, according to prosecutors.
“I heard the guy getting louder and louder and I thought it was just an argument, but he started yelling and screaming and threatening people, threatening to kill them,” said Ghookasian.
Who is Simik Ghookasian?
Simik Ghookasian is a Los Angeles government contractor. He was flying to Boston on United Flight 2609 on Sunday for work.
He saw the spoon and was among the five or six passengers who jumped onto the man, who federal authorities have identified as Francisco Severo Torres, and removed it from his grasp. According to authorities, it turned out to be the handle of a metal spoon, from which the bowl portion had been broken off.
Ghookasian said he hadn’t noticed anything unusual about the man until the man.
“That guy was really strong and was really resisting. We had a hard time holding him down. It was total teamwork,” he added. He asked a flight attendant for some zip ties or duct tape.
Ghookasian said he has first aid and counter-terrorism training and didn’t have time to be scared so he just reacted and used his instincts.
Torres was arrested when the plane landed in Boston. He was charged with interference and attempted interference with crew members and attendants using a weapon, according to reports. He was detained pending a hearing scheduled for Thursday. Torres is from Leominster, Massachusetts and is 33 years old.