Man Who Tried to Breach Cockpit, then Opened Emergency Exit and Jumped from Departing Plane at LAX Faces Federal Charge
LOS ANGELES – A Mexican national, who was aboard a SkyWest Airlines flight taxiing to the runway at Los Angeles International Airport Friday evening, allegedly approached the cockpit – banging on the cockpit door and trying to enter the restricted space – before opening an emergency exit and jumping to the tarmac, according to a federal criminal complaint made public today.
Luis Armando Victoria Dominguez, 33, of La Paz, Mexico, was charged with interference with flight crew members and attendants. Victoria Dominguez, who suffered a broken leg when he fell to the tarmac and later underwent surgery, is expected to make his initial appearance later this week in United States District Court.
The complaint alleges that Victoria Dominguez was a passenger on United Airlines flight 5365, operated by SkyWest Airlines, that was scheduled to fly from Los Angeles to Salt Lake City. Soon after the plane pushed back from the gate, Victoria Dominguez “sprinted” to the front of the aircraft past a seated flight attendant and “began banging on the cockpit door and manipulating the locked doorknob,” according to an FBI affidavit that was filed with the complaint.
When he failed to gain entry to the cockpit, Victoria Dominguez pushed past the flight attendant and went to the emergency exit on the right side of the plane, where he managed to partially open the door, causing the emergency slide to partially deploy, the affidavit states. While a nearby passenger attempted to restrain him, Victoria Dominguez managed to get away and jump from the aircraft, missing the emergency slide.
“Once Victoria Dominguez landed on the tarmac, he began crawling away from the aircraft. His right leg appeared broken,” the affidavit states.
A criminal complaint contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
The criminal complaint naming Victoria Dominguez was signed by a United States magistrate judge on Sunday and docketed by the court this afternoon.
The charge of interference with flight crew members and attendants carries a statutory maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison.
The FBI is investigating this matter and received substantial assistance from the Los Angeles Airport Police Department.
Assistant United States Attorney Solomon Kim of the General Crimes Section is prosecuting this case.