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'Underwear Bomber' Plane Hero Suing Airlines for $10 Million

A New York man has filed a $10 million lawsuit against Delta Airlines and Air France for failing to stop a terrorist from getting on a plane
By David Lev
First Publish: 12/22/2011, 3:39 PM

plane (illustrative)
plane (illustrative)
Morguefile

A New York State resident has filed a $10 million lawsuit against Delta Airlines and Air France for failing to stop a terrorist from getting on a plane in 2009. The terrorist in question is the infamous “underwear bomber,” who tried to blow up a plane bound for Detroit in 2009 using a bomb hidden in his undergarments.

Theophilus Maranga, a resident of the Hudson Valley community of Wappingers' Falls, filed the lawsuit in a Manhattan courtroom Wednesday. Along with the airlines, he is also suing the terrorist himself, Nigerian terrorist Farouk Abdulmutallab, who is awaiting sentencing after confessing to the terror plan.

Maranga is claiming damages for injuries he sustained in trying to stop the attack. Maranga tried to prevent the terrorist from blowing up the plane by tackling him and was injured in several places before he and others were able to subdue Abdulmutallab, who had sewn a packet of plastic explosives to his underwear. As the plane approached Detroit, he attempted to detonate the explosives, but only succeeded in burning his pants. Several passengers, including Maranga, jumped on him when they saw flames emerging from his leg. After being taken into custody, Abdulmutallab told authorities he had been directed by al-Qaeda, and that he had obtained the device in Yemen.

Maranga said in the lawsuit that he suffered rib injuries when he attacked the terrorist, and that he sustained nerve damage in his hands. In addition, he said, Abdulmutallab managed to break one of his teeth.

The incident occurred on December 25, 2009, as Maranga and 278 other passengers flew on Northwest Airlines flight 253 from Amsterdam Airport Schiphol to Detroit. Northwest is owned by Delta, and Maranga is also suing Air France, which flew Abdulmutallab to Amsterdam.