Possible shoe bomb attempt thwarted on Denver-bound flight
DENVER - A man was in custody Wednesday evening after authorities say he tried to set his shoes on fire on a United Airlines flight from Washington D.C. to Denver, officials said.
The suspect was subdued by federal air marshals aboard United Flight 663, which departed Reagan National Airport and landed at Denver International Airport at 7:21 p.m. Authorities told ABC News that two jet fighters from Buckley Air Force Base were scrambled to accompany the jet for the final 40 miles of its flight to Denver.
"TSA is monitoring an incident on board United Airlines flight 663 from DCA to DEN after receiving initial reports that a Federal Air Marshal responded to a passenger possibly causing a disturbance on board this aircraft," said Greg Soule, a spokesman for the Transportation Security Administration.
"The flight landed safely at Denver International Airport. Law enforcement and TSA have responded to the scene and the passenger is currently in custody. All steps are being taken to ensure the safety of the traveling public."
FOX News reported that United Flight 663 was carrying 157 passengers and 6 crew members. Emergency crews were seen surrounding the plane upon its arrival.
TSA spokeswoman Kristin Lee said the man was being interviewed by law enforcement in Denver.
According to ABC News, the suspect was identified as Mohammed al Modadi, a diplomat in the Qatar embassy in Washington, D.C.
On Christmas Day 2009, a Nigerian man claiming links to the al-Qaida terrorist network was burned badly when he tried to detonate explosives packed in his underwear aboard a flight from Amsterdam to Detroit.