Kurt Haskell, an attorney from Taylor, Mich., said he and his wife Lori observed a man at the boarding gate in Amsterdam, Netherlands, helping another man get on board Northwest Fight 253 -- and later learned the passenger was Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, accused of trying to blow up the plane, The Detroit News reported Tuesday. Abdulmutallab didn't have a passport, Haskell said.
"I think what I saw was his handler ... getting him on the plane," said Haskell, who was returning from a safari in Uganda.
The man told ticket agents Abdulmutallab didn't have a passport but needed to board the plane, the Haskells told the News. Lori Haskell said the two men were directed down a corridor to talk to a manager and Abdulmutallab eventually boarded the plane.
Abdulmutallab allegedly had chemical explosives concealed beneath his clothing and tried to detonate the material as the plane approached Detroit Christmas Day. His attempt was foiled when he was restrained by passengers and crew members who extinguished the fire, authorities say.
Federal officials would not comment on the Haskells' story, the News said. Other media reports indicated military police in the Netherlands were reviewing security video to check reports of an airport accomplice.