On December 22, 2001, just months after the 9/11 attacks, Richard Reid boarded American Airlines Flight 63 from Paris to Miami. He had homemade bombs hidden in his shoes which he intended to detonate mid-flight, blowing up the plane. However, he struggled to light the fuse and drew the attention of other passengers and crew members who saw the wires in his shoes.
After a struggle, they poured water on him and tied him to his seat with belts, and doctors on board administered a tranquilizer.
On October 4, 2002, Reid pleaded guilty to eight terrorism-related charges, and the judge sentenced him to life in federal prison.
Most airline passengers still have to x-ray their shoes at the airport, measures that were put in place after Reid's arrest.
During the flight, Reid tried to detonate his shoes, but he struggled to light the fuse. Crew members and passengers noticed and restrained him.
The plane diverted to Logan International Airport in Boston, and Massachusetts State Police officers took Reid into custody. Reid told FBI agents that he made the shoes himself.
On October 4, 2002, Reid pleaded guilty to eight terrorism-related charges. A judge sentenced him to life in federal prison.
FBI bomb techs determined that the shoes contained about 10 ounces of explosive material.
During a preliminary hearing, an FBI agent revealed how dangerous the homemade bomb was. She said that bomb techs determined that the bomb would have blown a hole in the plane's fuselage and caused the plane to crash if it had detonated.
History.com December 22, 2001
Three months after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Richard Reid, 28, a British citizen and Al Qaeda member, attempts to detonate homemade bombs hidden in his shoes while aboard American Airlines Flight 63 headed to Miami from Paris.
During the flight that included 197 passengers and crew members, Reid-who came to be known as the "shoe bomber" - used matches in an attempt to light his black hightops on fire while in his window seat. Smelling sulfur, a flight attendant saw what he was doing and fellow crew members and passengers were able to restrain him. He was sedated and strapped down with belts, and the plane was diverted to Boston's Logan International Airport, where he was taken into custody.
Two flight attendants suffered minor injuries, but no one on board was seriously hurt. During a hearing, the FBI reported the bomb, which included approximately 10 ounces of explosives, would have caused the plane to crash had Reid been successful.
Investigators said Reid, who had previously served jail time for petty thefts, had converted to Islam and trained at Al Qaeda camps in Afghanistan. It was also reported that an attempt to board a plane to Miami the day before his arrest failed after he was questioned extensively by authorities.
Reid pled guilty to eight charges and was sentenced to life in prison on January 31, 2003. He was fined $2 million. The incident resulted in an ongoing TSA protocol requiring passengers to remove their shoes for screening while passing through airport security.
Reid told the judge at the sentencing
WIKIPEDIARichard Colvin Reid
Born 12 August 1973
AKA the "Shoe Bomber", is the perpetrator of the failed shoe bombing attempt on a transatlantic flight in 2001. Born to a father who was a career criminal, Reid converted to Islam as a young man in prison after years as a petty criminal. Later he became radicalized and went to Pakistan and Afghanistan, where he trained and became a member of al-Qaeda.
On 22 December 2001, Reid boarded American Airlines Flight 63 between Paris and Miami, wearing shoes packed with explosives, which he unsuccessfully tried to detonate. Passengers subdued him on the plane, which landed at Logan International Airport in Boston, the closest US airport.
He was arrested, charged, and indicted. In 2002, Reid pleaded guilty in US federal court to eight federal criminal counts of terrorism, based on his attempt to destroy a commercial aircraft in flight. He was sentenced to three life terms plus 110 years in prison without parole and was transferred to ADX Florence, a super maximum security prison in Colorado.
The Bombing Attempt
On 22 December 2001, a passenger on American Airlines Flight 63 from Paris to Miami complained of the smell of smoke in the cabin shortly after a meal service. One flight attendant, Hermis Moutardier, thinking she smelled a burnt match, walked along the aisles of the plane, trying to find the source. She found Reid, who was sitting alone near a window, attempting to light a match. Moutardier warned him that smoking was not allowed onboard the aircraft. Reid promised to stop.
A few minutes later, Moutardier found Reid leaned over in his seat. After she asked him what he was doing, Reid grabbed her, revealing one shoe in his lap, a fuse leading into the shoe, and a lit match. Several passengers worked together to subdue the 6 foot 4 inch (193 cm) tall Reid who weighed 215 pounds (97 kg). They restrained him using plastic handcuffs, seatbelt extensions, leather waist belts and headphone cords. An off-duty doctor on board administered a tranquilizer to him, which he found in the emergency medical kit of the airliner. The flight was immediately diverted to Logan International Airport in Boston, Massachusetts, the closest airport in the United States.
The explosive apparently did not detonate due to the delay in the departure of Reid's flight. The rainy weather, along with Reid's foot's perspiration, made the fuse too damp to ignite.
Shoe BomberChanges in Airline Security Procedures
As a result of these events, some airlines encouraged passengers departing from an airport in the United States to pass through airport security in socks or bare feet while their shoes are scanned for bombs. In 2006, the TSA started requiring all passengers to remove their shoes for screening. Scanners do not find PETN in shoes or strapped to a person. A chemical test is needed. However, even if the X-ray scanners cannot detect all explosives, it is an effective way to see if the shoe has been altered to hold a bomb.
In 2011, the rules were relaxed to allow children 12 and younger and adults 75 and older to keep their shoes on during security screenings.