Raleigh man details his terror flight encounter

Kapil Kushwaha

Exclusive interview with Flight 253 passenger
December 28, 2009 8:21:11 PM PST
A Raleigh man tells Eyewitness News what it was like on Northwest Airlines Flight 253 as a suspected terrorist tried to blow it up.Kapil Kushwaha says his journey began in India where he was visiting relatives.

When he left, he got a connecting flight in Amsterdam - Flight 253 to Detroit. Kushwaha says it was on that flight when he began to fear for his life, because of a frightening ordeal just a few rows behind him.

"We were in the middle of the plane," Kushwaha said.

Just a few rows behind him, a man was plotting to down his Northwest Airline flight.

"We heard a popping like a balloon and we turned back and we didn't see anything," Kushwaha said. "After 30 seconds we hear people screaming behind me."

The Raleigh businessman says he was shocked and confused and then it all made sense.

"I see like a flame and a smoke, everybody like keep crying, like a screaming too much and tried to put off the fire," Kushwaha said.

The hysteria continued, but a few heroes emerged, taking matters into their own hands -one man in particular.

"He like jumped on guy who put on fire and he helped to fire put off," Kushwaha said." ? Then people like cheered, just like cheers."

The crew tried to calm the passengers on board, but it would be several grueling hours of interviews and K-9 searches before they were allowed to go home.

Kushwaha missed his connecting flight to RDU, but like several other passengers, the next day he finally made it home.

Kushwaha says he made the trip to India with his wife who is still there.

He says his family was terribly worried when they learned it was his flight, but he's managed to call all of them since then to let them know he's okay.

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