Device was on fire in terror suspect’s lap: Passenger (Lead)December 26th, 2009 - 9:14 pm ICT by IANS
Washington, Dec 26 (IANS) A device was on fire in a Nigerian terror suspect’s lap, said passengers on a US bound flight describing the brief moments of panic on board, as screams erupted and flight attendants ran for extinguishers.
Syed Jafry, who was sitting in seat 16G on the Northwest Airlines flight from Amsterdam to Detroit Friday, said the plane was just beginning to descend when passengers heard a pop.
“Everybody got a little bit startled,” he was quoted as saying by CNN. “After a few seconds or so … there was … kind of a flamish light and there was fire” and people around the immediate area began to panic.
Another passenger Jasper Schuringa said he heard a big bang that sounded like a firecracker going off. He told CNN that he was the one who was able to subdue the suspect Abdulmutallab. CNN said it was not able to independently confirm Schuringa’s account.
Schuringa said someone started yelling: “Fire! Fire!” Then there was smoke.
That’s when Schuringa said he knew something was terribly wrong.
When he noticed that Abdulmutallab was not moving, he grew suspicious. He jumped over the passenger next to him and lunged over Abdulmutallab’s seat.
Schuringa said he saw that Abdulmutallab had his pants open and he 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.
He said he managed to pull an object tucked between Abdulmutallab’s legs.
“Water! Water,” Schuringa screamed. He heard fire extinguishers as he pulled Abdulmutallab out of his seat and dragged him to the front of the plane. Schuringa said Abdulmutallab seemed dazed. “He was staring into nothing.”
Schuringa said he stripped off Abdulmutallab’s clothes to make sure he did not have other explosives on his body. A crew member helped handcuff him. He said other passengers applauded as he walked back to his own seat.
“My hands are pretty burned. I am fine,” he said. “I am shaken up. I am happy to be here.”
Jafry said the incident was under control within minutes, crediting the crew and nearby passengers for the rapid response.
Another passenger, Richelle Keepman, told CNN affiliate WDIV-TV that the experience was terrifying.
“I think we all thought we weren’t going to land, we weren’t going to make it,” Keepman said.
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Tags: amsterdam, big bang, clothes, cnn, crew member, explosives, fire extinguishers, fire fire, firecracker, flight attendants, jasper, legs, little bit, northwest airlines, northwest airlines flight, screams, syed jafry, terror, water water