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Denver-Bound Passenger Said He Tried to Light Shoes on Fire

DENVER - A passenger on a United Airlines flight from Washington, D.C., to Denver said he tried to light his shoes on fire while in the plane restroom, KUSA-TV has learned. Reportedly, he made the comment to cover up that he was smoking.

A spokesperson for Denver International Airport says the flight landed at 7 p.m. Mountain Time. The flight took off from Reagan National Airport at 3:19 p.m. MDT.

KUSA-TV has learned the passenger had spent a lot of time in the bathroom and when he came out, an air marshal on the plane smelled smoke and asked the person what he had been doing.

The person responded that he had been trying to set his shoes on fire.

NBC said it appears the person may not have had any incendiary devices on him.

He is described as 25 to 26 years old and federal sources say he is a foreign diplomat. According to NBC, the man is with the Qatari embassy in Washington.

NBC said investigators have examined his shoes and did not find any incendiary-type of devices.

According to NBC, they believe the man may have tried to smoke inside the bathroom, which is not allowed on any domestic flights.

NBC said he may have said he was going to light his shoes on fire to cover up that he was smoking.

The passenger is being questioned by federal investigators.

WRC, the NBC affiliate in Washington, D.C., says F-15 fighters escorted the flight in to DIA.

Both the FBI and the Transportation Security Administration responded to the incident. Other federal law enforcement agencies also responded, KUSA-TV has learned.

A passenger on the plane contacted KUSA-TV and said they were held on the plane as it sat on the tarmac for around an hour.

He said all 157 passengers and six crew members were taken off the Boeing 757 and were being interviewed by the FBI.

The flight crew asked that the aircraft be met by federal officials when it arrived at the gate.

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