Wednesday, November 30, 2022 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Nigerian Man Indicted in Botched Plane Bombing

(CN) - A 23-year-old Nigerian man has been charged in a six-count criminal indictment for the failed Christmas day bombing of Northwest Airlines flight 253, the Justice Department announced Wednesday.

Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab faces up to life in prison for his alleged attempt to detonate a bomb as his flight from Amsterdam landed in Detroit on Dec. 25, 2009.

He allegedly boarded the flight in the Netherlands with a bomb concealed in his clothing. The device contained a high explosive called Pentaerythritol, or PETN, and other volatile ingredients.

He started a fire trying to detonate the bomb in Detroit, but was "subdued and restrained" by the passengers and flight crew, according to the Justice Department.

The flight carried 279 passengers, including Abdulmutallab, and 11 crew members.

Abdulmutallab is charged with attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction, attempted murder on an airplane, attempting to destroy or wreck a U.S. aircraft, placing a destructive device on an aircraft, and using and possessing a firearm or destructive device while trying to commit a violent crime.

"Anyone we find responsible for this alleged attack will be brought to justice using every tool - military or judicial - available to the government," said Attorney General Eric Holder.

U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade echoed that sentiment.

"The attempted murder of 289 innocent people merits the most serious charges available, and that's what we have charged in this indictment," she said.

Read the Top 8

Sign up for the Top 8, a roundup of the day's top stories delivered directly to your inbox Monday through Friday.