DETROIT, Mich. (WXYZ) - Chaos over Woodhaven.
That’s where U.S prosecutors say 24-year-old Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab tried to detonate a bomb in his underwear.
For the first time we’re getting the inside story of Flight 253 as it made its way to Metro Airport from Amsterdam Christmas Day 2009.
The entire drama played out in 7 minutes between the time Abdulmutallab tried to detonate the bomb over Telegraph Road and when the pilots got the plane on the ground, according to prosecutors.
Details coming to light as prosecutors gave their opening arguments today.
Assistant US Attorney Jonathan Tukel told jurors Abdulmutallab was getting ready to die, cleansing himself in the airplane lavatory, brushing his teeth and putting on perfume. He fasted and prayed.
Then just after he sat back down in his window seat in 19A, he allegedly pulled a blanket over his head, pulled down his pants, and triggered the explosive.
There was a popping noise, and suddenly he was on fire and so was his seat.
Michael Zantow, the first passenger to testify, said the man sitting next to Abdulmutallab yelled “hey man, hey dude your pants are on fire.”
“All hell broke loose”, according to prosecutor Tukel.
Several passengers tried to put out the flames and a male flight attendant ran down the aisle with a fire extinguisher.
Passengers laid out Abdulmutallab in the aisle, and passenger Zantow testified the defendant’s underwear was quote “something I had never seen before.” It was bulky and looked like adult diapers.
The fire was put out and Abdulmutallab was taken to row 1 in Business Class. There prosecutors say a flight attendant asked him if he was in pain. He nodded yes. Then she asked what he had in his pocket. And he said it was an "explosive device".
Prosecutors say several passengers, including Melinda Dennis, whom Action News interviewed the day of the flight, overheard Abdulmutallab admit it was an explosive.
And he allegedly repeated that to the FBI and nurses later in the day.
In laying out their case, prosecutors said today Abdulmutallab got the bomb in Yemen where he was working with Abu Tarak; that the bomb was made by a Saudi Arabian; and he was working with al Qaida.
And they say he was given a mission: to blow up a US airliner over US soil. Prosecutors say he was the perfect candidate for the mission because he spoke fluent English, was a world traveler, had a valid passport, and a valid U.S. visa.
He allegedly flew from Yemen to Ghana to Nigeria to Amsterdam.
The bomb, prosecutors say, contained no metals so Abdullmutallab made it through the metal detectors. He lied to security when asked about where he’d been and why he was flying to the US.
After the bomb went off and Abdulmutallab was secure, a flight attendant told the pilots there was a fire.
At that point, everyone though it had been a firecracker that exploded.
As the pilots spoke with air traffic control, other planes in the air were diverted, as Flight 253 descended quickly for an emergency landing just before noon time.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection came on board and quickly realized the incident involved much more than a firecracker based on the intense burns Abdulmutallab sustained.
Prosecutors say a Customs and Border Protection officer asked Abdulmutallab what his intentions were, and Abdulmutallab allegedly responded that it was to bring down the airplane.
Prosecutors say the device contained a syringe, with the chemicals TATP and PETN. It was supposed to create a small explosion and then a large explosion, but it did not function as intended.
About 76 grams of PETN did not burn, according to the government. The FBI determined that the actual device had about 200 grams of PETN based on their re-creation of the bomb.
When FBI agents examined Abdulmutallab's shoes, they found a slip of paper with an encryption code that al Qaeda uses. It was a password so he could communicate with al Qaida before boarding the plane according to Tukel.
There were 279 passengers on board, 8 flight attendants, 1 pilot, and 2 co-pilots.
The passengers were from 26 different countries.
130 passengers were from the United States.
Prosecutors say Abdulmutallab thought he would end up in Heaven, and that he would be a martyr.
Abdulmutallab and his standby attorney Anthony Chambers declined to give an opening statement, but they can do so later in the trial.
Copyright 2011 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
More Detroit Headlines
In the wind and rain, parents and students marched outside of the Fisher Building where the office of the Detroit Public Schools Emergency Manager is based.
One mystery that popped up during Kilpatrick's criminal trial has now been solved.
Controversy over whether Mike Duggan should be able to run for mayor of Detroit.