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Airplane Escapes Disaster

Flight attendants managed to overpower a bomb suspect on a trans-Atlantic flight from Paris to Miami.


An FBI agent (left) sits next to the suspect as he is taken from Boston airport.

An American Airlines trans-Atlantic flight almost fell victim to a terrorist attack on Saturday. A man aboard AA Flight 63 from Paris to Miami appeared to be trying to blow up the airplane.

The suspect had explosives packed in his shoes and was trying to light them with matches. Flight attendants noticed the smell of the sulfur and overpowered the man.

The plane carried 185 passengers and 12 crew. After the incident, two U.S. Air Force fighter jets escorted it to Boston.

Officials at Boston's Logan airport told journalists that the man appeared to be "of Middle Eastern descent". He was apparently traveling on a false British passport.

A French passenger aboard the plane described the suspect as tall and weighing 200 pounds (90 kg).

Mid-air drama

Tom Kinton, director of aviation at Logan, said the flight attendants and other passengers who tackled the man "prevented something very serious from occurring."

"The flight attendants 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 said.

He added that the flight attendants had been hurt during the incident. They yelled for help "and received that help from other passengers on board the aircraft," Kinton said.

Airport security

American Airlines Flight 63 had taken off from Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris. Security at the French airport is now under intense scrutiny, since the explosives hidden in the shoes were not detected when the man checked in.

The special kind of explosives used in this case could not have been detected with x-rays. Specially trained sniffer dogs would have been necessary. Those, however, aren't on duty at all airports at all times.