Airline hero says failed bombing mirrors script

AP News
Posted: Dec 31, 2009 9:34 AM

The Dutch traveler who has been hailed as a hero for stopping a suspected bomber on a U.S.-bound flight says the whole thing felt like a movie script _ his own.

Jasper Schuringa, a video producer who leapt onto the Nigerian accused of trying to blow up a Detroit-bound airliner, says he wrote a script eight years ago about a failed suicide attack on Amsterdam's airport, the same place from which the Christmas Day flight took off.

"It is about a suicide bomber who wants to murder a politician at Schiphol. But at the crucial moment the bomb doesn't go off," Schuringa said in an interview in Miami published in the Dutch daily Algemeen Dagblad on Thursday.

"That's what happened with Umar. He thought he was already in heaven and then he saw me coming toward him." Schuringa did not say what became of the script.

Schuringa jumped on Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab after the 23-year-old student allegedly tried to detonate explosives he had concealed in his underwear as Northwest Airlines Flight 253, with 289 passengers and crew, was descending toward Detroit.

Schuringa said he reacted instinctively when he saw Abdulmutallab sitting in his seat with flames rising around him.

Helped by other passengers, he patted down the flames with his bare hands and then dragged Abdulmutallab to the front of the aircraft and ripped off his clothes to remove the small package filled with the explosive pentrite.

"How did I know what I should do? I don't know, I just did," he said. "Maybe I've watched too many American movies."

Schuringa said his ordeal wasn't over when he landed safely in Detroit. American federal agents questioned him and took his clothing to test it for explosives, visiting a golf store at the airport to hastily buy him new clothes.

"I looked like a clown," he said. "The trousers were so big I had to hold them up."

Despite his near miss, Schuringa quickly boarded his next flight to Miami without worrying about a repeat attack.

"What are the odds that this happens and that it immediately happens again?" he said.

Schuringa said he was surprised by the attention from around the world. The Dutch government said Wednesday that even the country's monarch, Queen Beatrix, expressed her appreciation.

"I just happened to be sitting there and went into action without thinking," he said. "And I didn't do it alone _ other people helped me."

Schuringa said he now wants to escape all the media attention and continue his vacation. He was on his way to a surfing vacation with friends and family in Costa Rica when he was thrust into the international spotlight.