On December 22, 2001, Richard Reid, a British citizen and Islamic extremist, attempted to destroy a passenger airliner by igniting explosives hidden in his shoes aboard American Airlines Flight 63. The flight was traveling from Paris, France to Miami, Florida.
Reid boarded the flight and took his seat in the economy section of the plane. Shortly after takeoff, he attempted to ignite the explosives by using a match, but was unsuccessful. He then tried again using the cigarette lighter that he had smuggled on board, but again failed.
Several passengers and flight attendants noticed Reid’s behavior and alerted the crew. Reid was confronted by passengers, including two off-duty federal air marshals, who managed to subdue and restrain him. The plane was diverted to Logan International Airport in Boston, where Reid was arrested by the FBI.
The explosives in Reid’s shoes were later found to be made of a mixture of plastic explosives and other materials, and could have caused significant damage to the aircraft. Fortunately, Reid’s attempt to ignite the explosives failed and no one was injured.
Reid was charged with attempted murder, attempted destruction of an aircraft, and other offenses. His attempted attack on Flight 63 was the first of several high-profile terrorist incidents involving the use of explosives hidden in shoes.