Northwest Flight and the Lesson of Flight 93 (Updated)
[Guest post by DRJ]
The New York Times quotes a passenger on Northwest Flight #253 regarding the reaction to the terrorist attack onboard the aircraft:
“The incident unfolded just before noon. “There was a pop that sounded like a firecracker,” said Syed Jafry, a passenger who said he had been sitting three rows ahead of the suspect. A few seconds later, he said, there was smoke and “some glow” from the suspect’s seat and on the left side of the plane.
“There was a panic,” said Mr. Jafry, 57, of Holland, Ohio. “Next thing you know everybody was on him.” He said the passengers and the crew subdued the man.
The suspect was brought by the crew to the front of the plane — Northwest Airlines Flight 253, bearing Delta’s name — and the plane made its descent into Detroit Metropolitan Airport, landing at 11:53 a.m. (The two airlines merged last year.) Once on the ground, it was immediately guided to the end of a runway, where it was surrounded by police cars and emergency vehicles and searched by a bomb-disabling robot.”
My sympathies to these passengers for their ordeal but kudos to those who reacted with valor to subdue the suspect.
The material used in this terror attempt sounds more like an incendiary than an explosive, which may be why it escaped detection. Starting a fire in the close confines of an airplane would not only be dangerous, it would also cause panic.
UPDATE — The hero of Flight #253 is Jasper Schuringa:
“[Passenger Jasper] Schuringa told CNN he heard a sound similar to a firecracker as the Detroit-bound flight was preparing to land. After seeing smoke, he noticed a burning object between Abdulmutallab’s legs.
“I pulled the object from him and tried to extinguish the fire with my hands and threw it away,” Schuringa told CNN.
Schuringa said his hands were “pretty burned” after incident, but said the injuries were minor.
“I am fine. I am shaken up. I am happy to be here.”
Schuringa said he stripped off the suspect’s clothes to make sure he didn’t have any more explosives on him and helped a crew member handcuff him.
He described Abdulmutallab as “was staring into nothing” following the thwarted attempt.”
CBS has video at the link.