An envoy from Qatar grabbed a surreptitious smoke in a jetliner's bathroom and then joked about lighting his shoe on fire, sparking a bomb scare and the scrambling of military jets, said an AP report.
No explosives were found on the Washington-to-Denver flight last night.
Alison Bradley, a spokeswoman representing the Qatar embassy, said this morning that the diplomat, Mohammed Al-Madadi, had been released by authorities after questioning and was on his way back to Washington.
The report says the man was asked about the smell of smoke in the bathroom and he made a joke that he had been trying to light his shoes — an apparent reference to the 2001 so-called "shoe bomber" Richard Reid. Officials said air marshals aboard the flight restrained the man and he was questioned. The plane landed safely as military jets were scrambled.