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Jasper Schuringa Photo: AFP
Jasper Schuringa Photo: AFP
Police investigating in London Photo: AP
Police investigating in London Photo: AP

Dutch passenger thwarted terror attack on plane

Jasper Schuringa of Amsterdam says he saw smoke, climbed over seats to stop terrorist; adds there was no struggle as other passengers, crew members also rushed to stop him

Hagar Mizrahi
Published: 12.27.09, 00:00 / Israel News

A Dutch passenger who took control of the terrorist that tried to blow up an American passenger airliner, said the terrorist looked frightened after he was apprehended by security forces. Jasper Schuringa of Amsterdam told CNN there was no struggle as other passengers and crew also rushed to stop him.


Schuringa said he heard a pop, saw smoke and climbed over seats to stop a man from trying to blow up a Northwest Airlines flight in Detroit.


Thwarted Attack
US: Qaeda attempt to blow up Detroit-bound plane fails / News agencies
(Video) Nigerian man claiming to be agent for terror group fails to detonate explosive device aboard Delta-Northwest plane carrying 278 passengers, 11 crew members with 20 minutes from Detroit airport
Full story

As passengers on Flight 253 screamed "fire, fire" on Friday, Schuringa said he figured the suspect was "trying to blow up the plane."


Schuringa said he grabbed a burning object, helped put out the fire with his hands and subdued the man, who has been identified as a Nigerian, Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab. He says passengers screamed but the suspect remained silent during the incident Friday.


"We took him to first class, stripped him and contained him to make sure he had no more weapons, no more bombs," said Schuringa, whose right wrist and fingertips were bandaged to protect burns.


Schuringa said until the pop, there was nothing about Muttalab's behavior that stirred suspicions on the Amsterdam-to-Detroit flight.


He praised flight attendants and fellow passengers, saying "they're also heroes."


After the plane landed, Schuringa was crowned to be the hero of the incident. The other passengers, and well as his family members cheered him, while Netherland parliament members said he deserved to receive a royal honor.


Schuringa's parents told a Dutch newspaper how proud they were of their son: "We spoke with him a few minutes ago. He said he jumped over the seats when he noticed the man igniting a fire. He struggled until he managed to extinguish the flames."


Suspect charged

Meanwhile, authorities in the US charged Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab of trying to ignite an explosive device aboard the Northwest flight.


According to FBI preliminary analysis, the device contained Pentaerythritol, which he attached to his body. Abdulmutallab attempted to detonate the device, but instead his pants and seat caught fire.


Intelligence and security elements from the US, Britain, Netherlands, Nigeria and Yemen have all joined forces in order to conduct the investigation.


AP, Reuters contributed to this report


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