My runner-up: Capt. Chesley Sullenberger...
BTW, according to this AP story in The Baltimore Sun, Schuringa is a Dutch screenwriter and filmmaker.
THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — 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.I hope someone in Hollywood buys his story and makes it into a major motion picture, asap...we need some real heroes as role models for 2010.
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."
BTW, here's what Wikipedia has to say about him:
Jasper SchuringaWhy doesn't President Obama given this Dutchman the Medal of Freedom in 2010--since nothing better could express the true spirit of America? And Hollywood might give him the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award at this year's Oscar ceremony. What could be more humanitarian than a filmmaker saving the lives of everyone on Flight 253?
Schuringa stopped the attack, and got burned in the process. He is resident in Amsterdam and was born in 1971. Schuringa is a graduate of Leiden University, Leiden. He is a film director of low-budget Dutch films for an Amsterdam-based media company, and was the assistant director for National Lampoon's Teed Off Too.
Dutch Deputy Prime Minister Wouter Bos phoned Schuringa on behalf of the Dutch government on the day after the attack, and conveyed the government's compliments and gratitude for Schuringa's part in overpowering the suspect. Dutch Member of Parliament Geert Wilders called Schuringa "a national hero" who "deserves a royal honor", which Wilders said he would ask the Dutch government to award. . According to the Dutch newspaper De Volkskrant, even Queen Beatrix expressed her feelings of gratitude towards Schuringa though it wasn't made public how she had done this.