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Sunday, 23 December, 2001, 08:57 GMT
Onboard struggle to subdue suspect
Flight attendant at Logan airport
One flight attendant needed her hand bandaged
Passengers and flight attendants aboard American Airlines Flight 63 leapt into action as soon as they smelled smoke and spotted a man acting suspiciously.

Thierry Dugeon, a 36-year-old television reporter from Paris, said everyone involved acted as though they knew what to do.

I jumped on his shoulder. Two other guys came and took his legs

Eric Debry, passenger

"It's pure instinct, it goes so fast, it was my ass as well as the others," he said.

Tom Kinton, director of aviation at Logan airport in Boston, to where the Miami-bound flight was diverted, said a flight attendant first approached the man when he lit a match.

"The flight attendants became alerted to the smell of sulphur ... and immediately took action when they saw what this individual was attempting to do and literally tackled the individual and got into a wrestling match," Mr Kinton said.

"The flight attendants were hurt during this, and yelled for help from other passengers," he said.

One stewardess was reported to have been bitten by the man, who was travelling on a British passport under the name of Richard Reid.

Eric Debry, 42, a passenger from Paris, said he was one of the first to restrain the 1.95 metre (6 ft 4 in) suspect.

Leather belts

Mr Debry was sitting one row back. He said he had finished lunch and fallen asleep when he woke up to the smell of smoke.

Mr Debry said he reached over, grabbed the suspect by the shoulders and pulled his arms back.

Flight 63 Boeing 767 at Logan airport
The plane was en route to Miami from Paris
"I jumped on his shoulder. Two other guys came and took his legs," he said.

He said that for about 10 minutes, passengers held the suspect down while others collected about 20 leather belts and used them to restrain him, tying him around the waist, hands, chest and feet.

Two doctors then injected him with a sedative from the onboard medical kit.

"It was just an instantaneous reaction," Mr Debry said. "I feel lucky to be alive and I feel proud of the passengers".

Mr Dugeon said that, after the man was subdued, passengers searched him and found the British passport. They questioned him as to whether he spoke French, English or Arabic.

The suspect replied that he was Jamaican, but Mr Dugeon said the passengers did not believe him.

When the plane neared Boston, its captain told passengers they would be escorted into Logan airport by fighter jets.

Once the plane landed, police came on board and took the suspect away.

Mr Dugeon said: "It's three months after September 11. Of course, the first thing you think of is it's something to do with terrorism".

The BBC's Claire Marshall
"Everyone on board was asked to give witness statements"
ABC News' Ron Gollobin reports from Boston
"Passengers rushed to help subdue him"
Director of Aviation at Logan Airport, Tom Kinton
"The passenger became violent and fought with two flight attendants"
See also:

24 Oct 01 | Business
Massive loss for American Airlines
13 Sep 01 | Americas
No passport, no ticket - no problem
18 Dec 01 | South Asia
US names al-Qaeda 'most wanted'
12 Nov 01 | Americas
UN renews anti-terror drive
21 Dec 01 | Americas
More groups join US terror blacklist
11 Dec 01 | Europe
Looking for European al-Qaeda
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