Skip to comments.passenger: Sharp-dressed man aided terror suspect Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab onto plane without pass
Posted on 12/26/2009 11:55:38 AM PST by American Dream 246
A Michigan man who was aboard Northwest Airlines Flight 253 says he witnessed Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab trying to board the plane in Amsterdam without a passport, and believes at least one other person from the flight was arrested on Friday at Detroit Metro Airport.
Kurt Haskell of Newport, Mich., who posted an earlier comment about his experience, talked exclusively with MLive.com and confirmed he was on the flight by sending a picture of his boarding pass. He and his wife, Lori, were returning from a safari in Uganda when they boarded the NWA flight on Friday.
Kurt HaskellLori and Kurt HaskellHaskell said he and his wife were sitting on the ground near their boarding gate in Amsterdam, which is when they saw Mutallab approach the gate with an unidentified man.
While Mutallab was poorly dressed, his friend was dressed in an expensive suit, Haskell said. He says the suited man asked ticket agents whether Mutallab could board without a passport. The guy said, 'He's from Sudan and we do this all the time.'
Mutallab is Nigerian. Haskell believes the man may have been trying to garner sympathy for Mutallab's lack of documents by portraying him as a Sudanese refugee.
The ticket agent referred Mutallab and his companion to her manager down the hall, and Haskell didn't see Mutallab again until after he tried to detonate an explosive on the plane.
Haskell said the flight was mostly unremarkable. That was until he heard a flight attendant say she smelled smoke, just after the pilot announced the plane would land in Detroit in 10 minutes. Haskell got out of his seat to view the brewing commotion.
I stood up and walked a couple feet ahead to get a closer look, and that's when I saw the flames, said Haskell, who sat about seven rows behind Mutallab. It started to spread pretty quickly. It went up the wall, all the way to ceiling.
Haskell, who described Mutallab as a diminutive man who looks like a teenager, said about 30 seconds passed between the first mention of smoke and when Mutallab was subdued by fellow passengers.
He didn't fight back at all. This wasn't a big skirmish, Haskell said. A couple guys jumped on him and hauled him away.
The ordeal has Haskell and his wife a little shaken. Flight attendants were screaming during the fire and the pilot sounded notably nervous when bringing the plane in for a landing, he said.
Immediately, the pilot came on and said two words: emergency landing, Haskell said. And that was it. The plane sped up instead of slowing down. You could tell he floored it.
As Mutallab was being led out of the plane in handcuffs, Haskell said he realized that was the same man he saw trying to board the plane in Amsterdam.
Passengers had to wait about 20 minutes before they were allowed to exit the plane. Haskell said he and other passengers waited about six hours to be interviewed by the FBI.
About an hour after landing, Haskell said bomb-sniffing dogs detected something in a fellow passenger's bag at Detroit Metro Airport. He says the FBI told passengers to move to another area of the airport following the incident. They said, 'It's not a safe area. Read into that what you want.' I interpreted it to mean that there's a bomb in his carry-on.
Though Haskell says he saw that man led away in handcuffs, he has yet to see anything discussed publicly about a second arrest even though he believes it may somehow be connected to Mutallab's foiled terror attack. I know what I saw.
A call to the FBI on Saturday afternoon has not yet been returned.
It’s unknown whether this story is true — you’re welcome to decide for yourself. But if Pug’s story checks out, then it’s certainly understandable he had trouble sleeping last night after returning home from the ordeal.
“I was on this flight today and am thankful to be alive. My wife and I were returning from an African safari and had this connecting flight through Amsterdam. I sat in row 27, which was 7 rows behind the terrorist. I got to see the whole thing take place and it was very scary. Thanks to a few quick acting people I am still alive today.
For those of you talking about airline security in this thread, I was next to the terrorist when he checked in at the Amsterdam airport early on Christmas. My wife and I were playing cards directly in front of the check in counter. This is what I saw (and I relayed this to the FBI when we were held in customs):
An Indian man in a nicely dressed suit around age 50 approached the check in counter with the terrorist and said “This man needs to get on this flight and he has no passport.” The two of them were an odd pair as the terrorist is a short, black man that looked like he was very poor and looks around age 17(Although I think he is 23 he doesn’t look it). It did not cross my mind that they were terrorists, only that the two looked weird together. The ticket taker said “you can’t board without a passport”. The Indian man then replied, “He is from Sudan, we do this all the time”. I can only take from this to mean that it is difficult to get passports from Sudan and this was some sort of sympathy ploy. The ticket taker then said “You will have to talk to my manager”, and sent the two down a hallway. I never saw the Indian man again as he wasn’t on the flight. It was also weird that the terrorist never said a word in this exchange. Anyway, somehow, the terrorist still made it onto the plane. I am not sure if it was a bribe or just sympathy from the security manager.
FBI also arrested a different Indian man while we were held in customs after a bomb sniffing dog detected a bomb in his carry on bag and he was searched after we landed. This was later confirmed while we were in customs when an FBI agent said to us “You are being moved to another area because this area is not safe. Read between the lines. Some of you saw what just happened.”(The arrest of the other Indian man). I am not sure why this hasn’t made it into any news story, but I stood about 15-20 feet away from the other Indian man when he was cuffed and arrested after his search.
What also didn’t make the news is that we were held on the plane for 20 minutes AFTER IT LANDED!. A bomb could have gone off then. This wasn’t too smart of security to not let us off the plane immediately.
You can see what time I am writing this as I am having a hard time sleeping tonight. Just thought some of you would like to know what I saw, Merry Christmas.”
He may have been poorly dressed, but he lived in an expensive apartment in London, and his father is a wealthy banker.
Interesting story about a second man.
Many of the sentences have a vertical inch of blank space between them. Weird.
Sorry..I added breaks because it did not look to have them when I copy/paste...
Admin - moderator: please could that be in breaking or at least in frontpage? The fact that the guy has no passport seems pretty breaking interesting to me. And I don’t see another one with that title. Thanks.
I doubt very much that the man “in the expensive suit” boarded the airplane...if he was an accomplice of sorts.
THANK YOU Admin moderator :-)
“What also didnt make the news is that we were held on the plane for 20 minutes AFTER IT LANDED!. A bomb could have gone off then.”
the security of our nation is now being run by children
Is that all?
Whew, as long as he wasn't unfairly profiled. /s
Assuming this story is legit, my guess is I think he had a passport, but didn’t want to use it if he didn’t have to.
Since it was reported early on that he was Nigerian and had been to Yemen, I’m assuming they got that from his passport.
I doubt people regularly get on international flights, especially bound for he U.S. without passports. Just because a guy said he always does it, does make it true.
“How is it even possible that ANYONE can bord a plane in Amsterdam to US WITHOUT a passport???”
With a bomb, from Africa, no passport, known to some in the government as being on a terrorist list,
Meanwhile, grandma and kids like Beaver Cleaver get the full rectal exam,, and don’t *dare* make any jokes. Amazing,,,
So was this trip down the hall, where security procedures were circumvented?
A sort of backward, upside down VIP checkin, around effective screening?
And his father, for once a good muslim, warned the US Embassy 6 months ago - therefore under Obama - and is wondering why his son was not on the no fly list. I wish more muslims would be as nice and courageous. Unfortunately, US Embassy did not listen and did nothing...UNDER Obama - this one cannot be Bush fault.
The higher-ups always get the young and the stupid to do the dying.
I hope this little twerp realizes this and names names all over the place. He may prove to be very helpful.
If an airline lets a passenger board w/o a passport, or any other required immigration document, and they are refused admission to the US (or other landing country) then the airline is required to haul the pax back to the point of origin at the airline's expense.
Also, if he did not have a passport, how was he living in London?
It has been reported elsewhere that the pax did not have a visa and said he was planning to get one here when he arrived, claiming he was on some religious pilgrimage.
That is more likely.
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