Detroit: UK student in al-Qaeda airline bomb attempt Credit: Reuters
The 23-year-old attempted to ignite an explosive device strapped to his leg as a Northwest Airlines flight carrying 278 passengers and 11 crew came in to land in Detroit, according to US security officials.
He suffered second degree burns before being overpowered by other passengers including one who jumped on him and was also burned.
Mutallab, whom US security sources said was a student at University College London, claimed to have picked up his device in Yemen and to be an agent of al-Qaeda.
The White House said it believed it was an attempted act of terrorism, and that stricter security measures were quickly imposed on airline travel. It did not specify what those were.
President Barack Obama was notified of the incident and discussed it with security officials, the White House said. It said he is monitoring the situation and receiving regular updates from his vacation spot in Hawaii.