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The Kegworth Air Disaster: The Story In Photos

By on 8 January 2014 | comments 0

TODAY marks the 25th anniversary of the Kegworth Air Disaster. In photos, we take a look at the disaster and the impact it had. On January 8 1989, British Midland Flight 92, a Boeing 737-400, crashed onto the embankment of the M1 motorway near Kegworth, Leicestershire. The engines had ‘failed’ on the flight scheduled to travel from Heathrow to Belfast.

The aircraft was attempting to conduct an emergency landing at East Midlands Airport. Of the 126 people aboard (117 passengers), 47 died.

Of the 79 survivors, 74 had serious injuries.

The plane was travelling at 140mph when it hit the ground.

No-one on the motorway was hurt.

 

THE MEMORIES

 

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Chris Thompson is a survivor:

“The lights were flickering as the engine spluttered and died and came on again. Part of your brain’s saying ‘it can’t be happening’ and the other part of your brain is sitting through it and you’ve nowhere to run. There’s nothing you can do. You are completely, completely helpless.”

Mervyn Finlay:

“You are immediately aware that you are thousands of feet in the air. At this time it’s dark outside. I can see the lines of lights down below from roads and this thing suddenly lurches and there’s a big bang. And then there’s another big bang. At that point it started lurching around all over the sky. That was horrendous and my skin just absolutely crawled because… we weren’t on the ground, we weren’t anywhere near the ground. I absolutely guarantee. If there had been a way off that plane, people would have killed each other to get off.”

 

A passenger jet makes its final approach to East Midlands airport, over the memorial in Kegworth to those killed in the Kegworth aircrash 10 -years-ago today (Friday).  Date: 08/01/1999

A passenger jet makes its final approach to East Midlands airport, over the memorial in Kegworth to those killed in the Kegworth aircrash 10 -years-ago today (Friday).
Date: 08/01/1999

 

Library file dated 09.01.89. of rescue workers sifting through the broken remains of the British Midlands Boeing 737 400 on the M1 motorway embankment where forty-seven were killed when the aircraft crashed on Friday, January 8, 1989 near Kegworth, Leicestershire.

Library file dated 09.01.89. of rescue workers sifting through the broken remains of the British Midlands Boeing 737 400 on the M1 motorway embankment where forty-seven were killed when the aircraft crashed on Friday, January 8, 1989 near Kegworth, Leicestershire.

 

What had happened?

There was smoke in the cabin. Captain Kevin Hunt told passengers that the right-side engine was malfunctioning. He reduced power. The engine was turned off. But  passengers on the left side of the plane saw that engine spluttering and aflame. 

Mervyn Finlay was onboard:

“We were thinking: ‘Why is he doing that?’ because we saw flames coming out of the left engine. But I was only a bread man. What did I know?”

Hunt was badly injured. And then sacked. In told the BBC: “We were the easy option – the cheap option if you wish. We made a mistake – we both made mistakes – but the question we would like answered is why we made those mistakes.”

BM later paid McClelland an out-of-court settlement for unfair dismissal.

 

A passenger jet makes its final approach to East Midlands airport over the M1 motorway near Kegworth today (Friday). The scene is overlooked by a memorial to the 47 people who died in the Kegworth air disaster on the motorway as a Boeing 737 with engine trouble attempted to land 10 years ago today.

A passenger jet makes its final approach to East Midlands airport over the M1 motorway near Kegworth today (Friday). The scene is overlooked by a memorial to the 47 people who died in the Kegworth air disaster on the motorway as a Boeing 737 with engine trouble attempted to land 10 years ago today.

 

Professor Angus Wallace was waiting in the Queen’s Medical Centre’s accident and emergency department .

 

“I remember the day after the accident, I was chatting to one of my colleagues and we both came to the conclusion that this was an unusual accident. We set up a research project which looked at the cause of death in those that died and how the injuries had occurred in those that survived. We felt there was an opportunity to look at the safety in a crashed aircraft and how things might be improved – there were lessons that we learned from Kegworth…

“A lot of people are now very grateful for them [the changes the research made] – we learned, for instance, that the floors of the airplane at that time were not sufficiently strong because seats were ripped off the floor and a lot of the people at the front of the plane were concertinaed together and effectively crushed to death.”

The also supported the brace position.

 

THE INQUEST

 

 

Captain Kevin Hunt arrives with his solicitors representative Chris Bunting at the rear entrance of Prestworld Hall to give his evidence at the M1 air crash inquest. Date: 18/05/1990

Captain Kevin Hunt arrives with his solicitors representative Chris Bunting at the rear entrance of Prestworld Hall to give his evidence at the M1 air crash inquest.
Date: 18/05/1990

 

 

* The pilot of BD92 was quickly labelled a hero for avoiding the Leicestershire village and experts said the chances of both engines failing were one hundred million to one.

But Captain Kevin Hunt, from Aston-upon-Trent in Derbyshire, and First Officer David McClelland, from Donaghadee, County Down, were criticised in the subsequent investigation when it emerged they had switched off the working engine, and were later dismissed by the airline.

The men, however, blamed the indications from the engine instruments and claimed they were made scapegoats after the crash, which happened just 18 days after the Lockerbie bombing.

 

Pictures from a booklet given to the jury at the M1 air crash inquest to help them understand the evidence. Date: 18/05/1990

Pictures from a booklet given to the jury at the M1 air crash inquest to help them understand the evidence.
Date: 18/05/1990

SURVIVOR DONAT DESMOND TALKS TO THE MEDIA Date: 18/05/1990

SURVIVOR DONAT DESMOND TALKS TO THE MEDIA
Date: 18/05/1990

PICTURES OF BOOKLET GIVEN TO THE JURY AT THE M1 AIR CRASH INQUEST TO HELP THEM UNDERSTAND THE EVIDENCE Date: 18/05/1990

PICTURES OF BOOKLET GIVEN TO THE JURY AT THE M1 AIR CRASH INQUEST TO HELP THEM UNDERSTAND THE EVIDENCE
Date: 18/05/1990

 

First Officer David McClelland arrives to give his evidence at the inquest into the deaths of 47 people in the MI Air Crash. Date: 17/05/1990

First Officer David McClelland arrives to give his evidence at the inquest into the deaths of 47 people in the MI Air Crash.
Date: 17/05/1990

BERNARD JOHNSON ONE OF THE SURVIVORS OF THE M1 AIR CRASH AT THE INQUEST IN PRESTWOLD HALL, LEICESTERSHIRE Date: 18/05/1990

BERNARD JOHNSON ONE OF THE SURVIVORS OF THE M1 AIR CRASH AT THE INQUEST IN PRESTWOLD HALL, LEICESTERSHIRE
Date: 18/05/1990

 

Pictures from a booklet given to the jury at the M1 air crash inquest to help them understand the evidence. Date: 18/05/1990

Pictures from a booklet given to the jury at the M1 air crash inquest to help them understand the evidence.
Date: 18/05/1990

 

 

THE FIGHT FOR COMPENSATION

 

Irish boxer Stephen McCoy, disabled for life in the Kegworth air disaster of 1989 which claimed 47 lives, won record damages of 1,425,000 at the High Court in London today (Monday). The 23-year-old, who was just 16 when the crash happened, once sparred with Irish World Champion Eamon Loughran, before being left partly paralysed and brain damaged in the crash.  Date: 20/11/1995

Irish boxer Stephen McCoy, disabled for life in the Kegworth air disaster of 1989 which claimed 47 lives, won record damages of 1,425,000 at the High Court in London today (Monday). The 23-year-old, who was just 16 when the crash happened, once sparred with Irish World Champion Eamon Loughran, before being left partly paralysed and brain damaged in the crash.
Date: 20/11/1995

 

Former Royal Marine Graham Pearson and his wife, Rose, smile and clasp hands in celebration after the High Court awarded Mr Pearson 57,000 in compensation for stress that he has suffered as a result of helping victims aboard the wreck of the British Midland jet that crashed on the M1 at Kegworth in 1989 with the loss of 47 lives, today (Monday). See PA Story COURTS Kegworth. Photo by Michael Stephens/PA. Date: 09/02/1998

Former Royal Marine Graham Pearson and his wife, Rose, smile and clasp hands in celebration after the High Court awarded Mr Pearson 57,000 in compensation for stress that he has suffered as a result of helping victims aboard the wreck of the British Midland jet that crashed on the M1 at Kegworth in 1989 with the loss of 47 lives, today (Monday). See PA Story COURTS Kegworth. Photo by Michael Stephens/PA.
Date: 09/02/1998

Mrs Anne Glackin, whose husband was one of the 47 people killed when a British Midland Boeing 737 crashed on the M1, near Kegworth, Leicestershire in 1989, leaves the High Court in London today (Wednesday). British Midland Airways and the engine manufacturers are contesting the 180,000-plus damages being claimed by Mrs Glackin, 59, on behalf of herself and her daughter Sophia.

Mrs Anne Glackin, whose husband was one of the 47 people killed when a British Midland Boeing 737 crashed on the M1, near Kegworth, Leicestershire in 1989, leaves the High Court in London today (Wednesday). British Midland Airways and the engine manufacturers are contesting the 180,000-plus damages being claimed by Mrs Glackin, 59, on behalf of herself and her daughter Sophia.

Kieran Dynan, 29, who survived the M1 air disaster, which killed 47 people, eight years ago, at his home in Kentish Town, North London tonight (Weds). His terrible injuries have not healed, his legal fight for compensation continues - and he is uncertain whether he has suffered any lasting psychological effects. Like some of the passengers on the South Korean jumbo, Mr Dynan has an amazing story of survival amid devastation and turmoil. See PA Story AIR Jet. Photo by Neil Munns. Date: 06/08/1997

Kieran Dynan, 29, who survived the M1 air disaster, which killed 47 people, eight years ago, at his home in Kentish Town, North London tonight (Weds). His terrible injuries have not healed, his legal fight for compensation continues – and he is uncertain whether he has suffered any lasting psychological effects. Like some of the passengers on the South Korean jumbo, Mr Dynan has an amazing story of survival amid devastation and turmoil. See PA Story AIR Jet. Photo by Neil Munns.
Date: 06/08/1997

Captain Kevin Hunt and his wife Rosie outside their solicitors' office in London. * 07/02/1996 Received a six-figure sum in compensation from his employers British Midland following the Kegworth aircrash in January 1989.

Captain Kevin Hunt and his wife Rosie outside their solicitors’ office in London. * 07/02/1996 Received a six-figure sum in compensation from his employers British Midland following the Kegworth aircrash in January 1989.

 

THE AFTERMATH

Relatives of people who died in the British Midland aircrash in the MI near Kegworth, leave flowers at a memorial on a bridge overlooking the crash site. Date: 08/01/1990

Relatives of people who died in the British Midland aircrash in the MI near Kegworth, leave flowers at a memorial on a bridge overlooking the crash site.
Date: 08/01/1990

Princess Royal talks with survivor Army Corporal George Bosper, 24, from Bodmin Cornwall, at Leicester Royal Infirmary. Date: 01/11/1989

Princess Royal talks with survivor Army Corporal George Bosper, 24, from Bodmin Cornwall, at Leicester Royal Infirmary.
Date: 01/11/1989

 

M1 air crash survivor Mr Alistair McCorry is visited by British Midland chairman Mr Michael Bishop at Laicester Royal Infirmary. Date: 11/01/1989

M1 air crash survivor Mr Alistair McCorry is visited by British Midland chairman Mr Michael Bishop at Laicester Royal Infirmary.
Date: 11/01/1989

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British Midland airline's chairman Mr Michael Bishop in front of a DC9 aircraft.

British Midland airline’s chairman Mr Michael Bishop in front of a DC9 aircraft.

M1 air crash survivor Mary McHugh of Belfast recovering at the Derby Royal Infirmary today following last night's ordeal on board the stricken British Midland Boeing 737.

M1 air crash survivor Mary McHugh of Belfast recovering at the Derby Royal Infirmary today following last night’s ordeal on board the stricken British Midland Boeing 737.

A line of police and soldiers spans the M1 motorway near Kegworth in Leicestershire to start a finger-tip search of the area around the crashed British Midland 737, which crashed just a few hundred yards short of the runway at East Midlands Airport. Date: 10/01/1989

A line of police and soldiers spans the M1 motorway near Kegworth in Leicestershire to start a finger-tip search of the area around the crashed British Midland 737, which crashed just a few hundred yards short of the runway at East Midlands Airport.
Date: 10/01/1989

Kevin Hunt, Captain of the Boeing 737 which crashed on the M1 motorway in Leicestershire.

Kevin Hunt, Captain of the Boeing 737 which crashed on the M1 motorway in Leicestershire.

 

THE HORROR

Library file dated 09.01.89. of rescue workers sifting through the broken remains of the British Midlands Boeing 737 400 on the M1 motorway embankment where forty-seven were killed when the aircraft crashed on Friday, January 8, 1989 near Kegworth, Leicestershire.

Library file dated 09.01.89. of rescue workers sifting through the broken remains of the British Midlands Boeing 737 400 on the M1 motorway embankment where forty-seven were killed when the aircraft crashed on Friday, January 8, 1989 near Kegworth, Leicestershire.

Library file dated 09.01.89. of rescue workers sifting through the broken remains of the British Midlands Boeing 737 400 on the M1 motorway embankment

Library file dated 09.01.89. of rescue workers sifting through the broken remains of the British Midlands Boeing 737 400 on the M1 motorway embankment

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The scene on the M1 motorway near Kegworth, Leicestershire, as preparations are made to remove wreckage of the crashed British Midland Boeing 737. Date: 12/01/1989

The scene on the M1 motorway near Kegworth, Leicestershire, as preparations are made to remove wreckage of the crashed British Midland Boeing 737.
Date: 12/01/1989

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The right engine of the crashed Boeing 737 is inspected by Mr Ed Trimble, principal engineering inspector of the Department of Transport's Air Accident Investigation Branch at the scene of Sunday's crash on the M1 motorway near Kegworth, Leicestershire. Date: 11/01/1989

The right engine of the crashed Boeing 737 is inspected by Mr Ed Trimble, principal engineering inspector of the Department of Transport’s Air Accident Investigation Branch at the scene of Sunday’s crash on the M1 motorway near Kegworth, Leicestershire.
Date: 11/01/1989

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Kevin Hunt, Captain of the Boeing 737 which crashed on the M1 motorway in Leicestershire.

Kevin Hunt, Captain of the Boeing 737 which crashed on the M1 motorway in Leicestershire.

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