2001 shoe bomb plot

2001 shoe bomb plot
2001 shoe bomb plot

One of the shoes containing the explosive.
Location En route to Miami, Florida, U.S. from Paris, France
Date December 22, 2001 (2001-12-22)
Target American Airlines Flight 63
Attack type Shoe bomb
Injured 0
Perpetrator(s) Richard Reid

The 2001 shoe bomb plot was a failed bombing attempt that occurred on American Airlines Flight 63 flying from Charles De Gaulle International Airport in Paris, France, to Miami International Airport in Miami, Florida, on December 22, 2001.



As Flight 63 was flying over the Atlantic Ocean, Richard Colvin Reid — an Islamic fundamentalist from the United Kingdom, and self-proclaimed Al-Qaeda operative — carried shoes that were packed with two types of explosives. He had been refused permission to board the flight the day before.

Passengers on the flight complained of a smoke smell shortly after meal service. One flight attendant, Hermis Moutardier, walked the aisles of the plane to assess the source. She found Reid sitting alone near a window, attempting to light a match. Moutardier warned him that smoking was not allowed on the airplane, and Reid promised to stop.

A few minutes later, Moutardier found Reid leaning over in his seat, and unsuccessfully attempted to get his attention. After she asked him what he was doing, Reid grabbed at her, revealing one shoe in his lap, a fuse leading into the shoe, and a lit match.

She tried grabbing Reid twice, but he pushed her to the floor each time, and she screamed for help. When another flight attendant, Cristina Jones, arrived to try to subdue him, he fought her and bit her thumb.

The 6 feet 4 inch (193 centimeters) tall Reid was eventually subdued by other passengers on the aircraft, using plastic handcuffs, seatbelt extensions, and headphone cords. A doctor administered diazepam found in the flight kit of the aircraft.[1] Many of the passengers were aware of the situation when the pilot announced that the flight was to be diverted to Logan International Airport in Boston, Massachusetts.

Two fighter jets escorted Flight 63 to Logan Airport. The plane was parked in the middle of the runway, and Reid was arrested on the ground while the rest of the passengers were bussed to the main terminal. Authorities later found over 100 grams of plastic explosives TATP and PETN hidden in the hollowed soles of Reid's black shoes, enough to blow a substantial hole in the aircraft.[citation needed] He was later convicted, and sentenced to life imprisonment without parole.


Six months after the crash of American Airlines Flight 587 in Queens, New York, Mohammed Mansour Jabarah agreed to cooperate with American authorities in exchange for a reduced sentence. He said that fellow Canadian Abderraouf Jdey had been responsible for the flight's destruction, using a shoe bomb similar to that found on Reid several months earlier. This claim remains unsubstantiated by the investigation into the cause of the crash, however.

Jabarah was a known colleague of Khalid Sheikh Mohamed, and said that Reid and Jdey had both been enlisted by the al-Qaeda chief to participate in identical plots.[2][3]

Security procedures at US airports have since asked persons to remove their shoes before proceeding through scanners, in response to this incident.[4]

See also

  • 1988 Lockerbie Bombing, Pan Am plane destroyed by PETN bomb, killing 270 people - event happened 13 years exactly prior to the shoe bomb incendent
  • 1994 Philippine Airlines Flight 434, test run for al-Qaeda Operation Bojinka, killing one plane passenger in bombing
  • 1995 Bojinka plot, al-Qaeda plot to blow up 12 planes as they flew from Asia to the U.S.
  • 2006 Transatlantic Aircraft Plot, failed plot to blow up at least 10 planes as they flew from the U.K. to the U.S. and Canada
  • 2009 Christmas Day bomb plot, failed al-Qaeda PETN bombing of plane
  • 2010 cargo plane bomb plot, failed al-Qaeda PETN bombing of plane
  • List of accidents and incidents on commercial airliners
  • List of terrorist incidents, 2001


External links

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