Passenger Says He Helped Thwart Terror Attack


passenger-deltaPassenger Jasper Schuringa told CNN that with the aid of the cabin crew, he helped subdue and isolate Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, who was charged today with trying to destroy a plane. Schuringa of Amsterdam, Netherlands, said he was traveling to Florida to visit friends. The journey aboard Northwest Airlines Flight 253 had been mundane, he said. But as the plane neared its destination of Detroit, Michigan, he heard a pop that sounded like a firecracker going off, and someone started yelling: “Fire! Fire!”

Then, there was smoke. “Around 30 seconds later the smoke started to fill up on the left side beneath this person,” he said. That’s when Schuringa said he knew something was wrong.

“I basically reacted directly. I didn’t think. When you hear a pop on the plane you’re awake, trust me,” Schuringa said.

When he noticed that Abdulmutallab was not moving, he grew suspicious. “I was on the right side of the plane and the suspect was on the left side, there were quite some seats in between.”

He jumped over the passenger next to him and lunged over Abdulmutallab’s seat, “Because I was thinking he’s trying to blow up the plane, and I was trying to search his body for any explosives.”

Schuringa said he saw that Abdulmutallab was holding a burning object between his legs. “I pulled the object from him and tried to extinguish the fire with my hands and threw it away,” Schuringa said. “Water! Water,” he said he screamed.

He heard fire extinguishers as he pulled Abdulmutallab out of his seat. “Just to be sure I grabbed him with another attendant and we took him to first class and there we stripped him and contained him with handcuffs and we made sure he had no more weapons, no more bombs on him.”

Schuringa said Abdulmutallab seemed dazed. “He was staring into nothing.”

Schuringa said the incident sparked panic aboard the flight. “The whole plane was screaming. The suspect, he didn’t say a word.”

We were holding [him,] but we wasn’t struggling.”

Schuringa said other passengers applauded as he walked back to his seat.

“My hands are pretty burned. I am fine,” he said. “I am shaken up. I am happy to be here.”

Schuringa said he wasn’t the only hero.

“A lot of people were trying to help later on,” he said. “We had very brave flight attendants that also helped, so thank you for those people. They are also heroes.”

CNN was not able to independently confirm Schuringa’s account.

{CNN Ticker/Noam Newscenter}