BOSTON, Dec. 22 (UPI) -- The FBI on Saturday night questioned an American Airlines passenger who apparently tried to ignite explosives in his shoes but was subdued by crew members and other passengers on a flight from Paris bound for Miami.
Flight 63 was diverted to Boston's Logan International Airport where the man, carrying an apparently false British passport identifying him as Richard Reid, was taken into custody.
Two F-15 fighter jets escorted the plane to Logan, where it landed safely just before 1 p.m. EST Saturday.
Authorities said flight attendants apparently smelled sulfur as the man allegedly lit a match and tried to set on fire some wires protruding from his shoes. When an attendant approached, the burly passenger started to fight, said Thomas Kinton, acting executive director of the Massachusetts Port Authority, which runs Logan Airport.
"The flight attendants became alerted to the smell of sulfur, and immediately took action when they saw what this individual was attempting to do and literally tackled the individual and got into a wrestling match in an attempt to stop this action," Kinton told reporters.
"The flight attendants were hurt during this, and yelled for help from other passengers and received that help from other passengers on board the aircraft," Kinton said.
The suspect became violent, bit one of the attendants, and was eventually forcibly strapped into a seat.
Two doctors on board used the plane's medical kit to sedate the suspect. His shoes were removed before he was taken from the plane.
Officials said the man appeared to be of Middle Eastern descent. He had been traveling alone and without luggage.
The FBI said the man was in custody for allegedly interfering with a flight crew.
All 185 passengers and 12 crew on Flight 63 safely disembarked from the plane, and the runway was temporarily closed.
Massport spokeswoman Laura White said X-rays showed the shoes contained a detonator wire and a substance that appeared to be C-4 explosive. Bomb squad officers safely ignited the shoes away from the plane.
Kinton said the intervention by the flight attendants and the passengers "appeared to have prevented something very serious from occurring."
"There was certainly enough (explosive material) to do some damage to an aircraft in flight," Kinton told reporters.
American Airlines issued a statement Saturday night confirming that Flight 63 had been diverted to Boston because of a security concern aboard the flight. The Fort Worth, Texas-based carrier said it could not release further information, referring further queries to federal law enforcement officials in Boston.