A man who tried to break into the flight deck of a Skywest airplane operating a flight on behalf of United Express at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) on Friday night has been charged with one count of interference with flight crew members and attendants by federal prosecutors. The charge carries a maximum possible sentence of 20 years imprisonment.
Luis Antonio Victoria Dominguez, 33, was a passenger on United Express flight UA5365 from Los Angeles to Salt Lake City (SLC) when he charged to the front of the aircraft shortly after it pushed back from the gate and tried to force his way into the flight deck according to an affidavit submitted by prosecutors.
The criminal complaint alleges that Dominguez, a Mexican national from La Paz, Mexico, “sprinted” towards the cockpit past a flight attendant who was seated at the front of the aircraft in preparation for takeoff.
He banged on the flight deck door and “manipulated” the doorknob but when he failed to get through the locked door, he barged past the flight attendant and managed to partially open an emergency exit at the front right-hand side of the small regional jet.
A nearby passenger attempted to restrain Dominguez but he managed to wriggle free and jumped out of the open exit. Dominguez missed the inflated emergency slide and instead landed hard on the tarmac below.
“Once Victoria Dominguez landed on the tarmac, he began crawling away from the aircraft. His right leg appeared broken,” the affidavit submitted in federal court states. He suffered a broken leg and was transported to the hospital where he had to undergo surgery. He is not expected to make an initial appearance in District Court until later this week.
Reports initially suggested the FBI was investigating Dominguez on possible hijack attempt charges. These allegations have been dropped but the charge of interference with flight crew members and attendants carries a statutory maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.