Unbelievable but true: British Airways pilot survives being sucked out of cockpit window at 5km altitude

Unbelievable but true: British Airways pilot survived after after being sucked out of the cockpit window at an altitude of 5 km

The incredible story of how a British Airways pilot survived after being sucked out of a cockpit window at an altitude of 5 km was told to its readers by The Sun newspaper. The disaster, similar to an adventure film, occurred about 30 years ago, on June 20, 1990, and became the plot for a documentary, but all the details were unknown for a long time and became available to the public only now. What is especially interesting is that the participants in this story not only survived, but also returned to service.

So, the liner of the British carrier was flying from Birmingham to Malaga, but at about the 13th minute of the flight, when the liner was flying over Oxfordshire, there was a sound, at first taken for an explosion. And two of the six cabin windows shattered into small pieces and flew overboard. Captain Tim Lancaster was thrown from his seat and thrown out of the window of BAC-111 at an altitude of 17,300 feet (that's about 57,000 meters). The sudden decompression also tore the cockpit door off its hinges, nearly knocking flight attendant Nigel Ogden down, but he managed to break into the cockpit and grab the pilot's legs, who was literally “sucked” out of the window.

“I had just left with my hand on the doorknob when there was a huge explosion and the door flew out of my hands. I thought, “Oh my God, this is the bomb.” As I turned around, I saw that the windshield was gone and Tim, the pilot, was flying through it – he was sucked out of his seat despite the seatbelt, and all I could see was his legs. I jumped over the steering wheel and grabbed him around the waist so that he would not fly out at all, ”the flight attendant later said. Further, second crew member John Heward joined the rescue, who ran into the cockpit and grabbed the pilot by the belt.

“His face hit the window, blood flowed from his nose and head, his arms dangled and seemed to be about six feet in length. Worst of all, his eyes were wide open. I will never forget this sight as long as I live,” says the first of them

Meanwhile, the autopilot turned off, and the plane raced down at a speed of almost 650 km/h. But co-pilot Alistair Atchison managed to intervene and took control. He urged both rescuers not to let the captain go, as he would not only die, but his body could seriously damage the plane. Another flight attendant named Simon strapped himself into the third pilot's seat and helped hold the chain of men.

“God knows how, but while all this was going on, Alastair managed to take control of the plane and sound the alarm,” the narrator added. The co-pilot managed to descend to a height where everyone could breathe and prepare for an emergency landing. The passengers – and there were 81 people on board – were looked after by the remaining stewardess. At the same time, everyone on board heard what was taken for an explosion. The plane landed at Southampton Airport where they were met by fire brigades and ambulances.

“Incredibly, the pilot suffered only frostbite and several fractures and bruises. The first steward also had to be treated for injuries and frostbite, ”adds the publication. It is noteworthy that all participants returned to the air within a few weeks or months. The “sucked” captain himself returned to work six months later and flew until 2003. All passengers remained unharmed.

As it turned out, the cause of the emergency was not an explosion, but a technical error. According to an Air Accident Investigation Administration report, a mechanic used the wrong windshield bolts 27 hours before a flight.

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