SAN FRANCISCO, NOV. 6 -- A man took control of an Air Canada jetliner at the airport today and held an ax to the pilot's head before surrendering 3 1/2 hours later, authorities said.

The man, identified as James Barrett Drake, 37, of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., told investigators "he was being chased by the Mafia and wanted FBI protection," FBI agent Dick Held said. "There's no indication that his statement is true."

Drake raced aboard the Boeing 767 at 12:15 p.m., shortly after it arrived and passengers had departed, officials said. He initially took the pilot, first officer and 10 flight attendants captive but later ordered everyone except the pilot, Capt. J. David Robertson, from the plane, authorities said.

An airport spokesman said that during the siege, the man grabbed a fire ax in the cockpit and held it over Robertson's head while making rambling demands to be flown to London or Dublin and to talk to the FBI.

About 3:45 p.m. Drake surrendered peacefully to FBI agents and police who had boarded the plane. The pilot was reported to be unharmed.

Arraignment here is set for Monday. Charges will be determined at that time, according to an FBI spokesman.