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Flight crew recall horrifying moment captain was sucked out of plane's cockpit window
Featured Image Credit: YouTube / National Geographic

Flight crew recall horrifying moment captain was sucked out of plane's cockpit window

The incident occurred on June 10, 1990

An airline steward has recalled the horrifying moment a captain was sucked out of a plane's cockpit window.

On June 10, 1990, British Airways flight 5390 took off from Birmingham, UK, to the beautiful Malaga in Spain.

Despite everything going to plan for the 81 passengers onboard for the first part of the journey, the crew were met with a potential disaster as they traveled over the Oxfordshire countryside.

As the aircraft was cruising at 23,000 feet, two of the six cockpit windows suddenly burst apart due to adverse air pressure effects.

This led to captain Tim Lancaster being ripped from his seat and sucked out of the window.

The sudden incident also blew the cockpit door from its hinges, almost knocking flight attendant Nigel Ogden to the ground.

A reconstruction of the incident.
YouTube/National Geographic

However, Ogden noticed that the pilot was in great danger and needed immediate help.

And thanks to Ogden's quick thinking, Lancaster was saved as the flight attendant grabbed the pilot's legs before he was completely sucked out of the plane.

Odgen later told the Sydney Morning Herald: “I was just stepping out, with my hand on the door handle, when there was an enormous explosion, and the door was blown out of my hands.

“I thought ‘My god, it’s a bomb’.

"I whipped round and saw the front windscreen had disappeared and Tim, the pilot, was going out through it - he had been sucked out of his seat belt and all I could see were his legs.

"I jumped over the control column and grabbed him round his waist to avoid him going out completely.

"His shirt had been pulled off his back and his body was bent upwards, doubled over round the top of the aircraft."

Luckily, no one died.
Getty Stock Photo

Ogden added: "I was still holding Tim, but my arms were getting weaker, and then he slipped. I thought I was going to lose him, but he ended up bent in a U-shape around the windows.

"His face was banging against the window with blood coming out of his nose and the side of his head, his arms were flailing and seemed about six feet long.

"Most terrifyingly, his eyes were wide open. I'll never forget that sight as long as I live."

While all this was going on, co-pilot Alistair Atchison had taken over the controls of the aircraft to prepare for an emergency landing.

Despite never flying to Southampton airport before, Atchison was able to safely land the plane.

After the incident, Ogden was left with a frostbitten face, some frostbite damage to his left eye and a dislocated shoulder while - miraculously - Captain Lancaster had only frostbite, fractures to his arm and wrist and a broken thumb.

It's said that after five months he was back in the skies again.

After a short break, Ogden went back to work but experienced post-traumatic stress so took early retirement in 2001 because of ill-health.

An Air Accidents Investigation Branch report later determined that the incident occurred because a fitter had used the wrong bolts to secure the windscreen.

Topics: Travel, UK News