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13 November 2014

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You are in: Derby > History > Local History > Kegworth: Twenty Years On

British Midland Flight 92 lies in pieces

British Midland Flight 92 lies in pieces

Kegworth: Twenty Years On

It's 20 years since a television newsflash alerted the world to a major plane crash in Kegworth which claimed the lives of 47 people and seriously injured several others.

At 8.25pm on 8 January 1989, British Midland Flight 92 crashed into the embankment at the side of the M1 motorway in Kegworth killing 47 people.

A further 74 people were seriously injured in the disaster, which happened just 16 days after the Lockerbie tragedy had taken hundreds more innocent lives.

The Boeing 737 had been flying from London Heathrow to Belfast when it was diverted to East Midlands Airport ten minutes into the journey after one of its engines caught fire.

The plane nearly made it to the runway

The plane nearly made it to the runway

The accident came about as a result of a disastrous communications failure which saw the aircraft's pilot mistakenly shut down the wrong engine, leaving the plane flying without any power.

Captain Kevin Hunt struggled in vain to pilot the stricken aircraft to a runway at East Midlands Airport but with just 900m to go, he couldn't prevent it ploughing into the side of the motorway.

Remarkably, nobody on the motorway was hurt in the crash and dozens of passengers were able to be rescued, albeit with many suffering from terrible injuries.

After hitting the ground, the aircraft split into three pieces. Emergency services waiting at East Midlands Airport rushed to the scene and rescued as many people as possible and treated the most serious injuries.

View from the motorway

View from the motorway

Those who walked away from the crash and many of those involved in the rescue effort have been left with lingering memories of that fateful night.

John Cox is now an air traffic manager at East Midlands Airport, but at the time, he was on duty in the radar room and talked to the pilot during the 15 minutes prior to the aircraft's attempting landing.

As director of nursing at the Derbyshire Royal Infirmary, Muriel Dewer had helped to write the major incident action plan. On the night of the crash, the hospital had to deal with 50 injured survivors.

The then Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher visits the scene

Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher visits

Leslie Pendleton is the parish clerk and was a councillor for the area at the time. She saw the aftermath of the crash from the bridge - driving by moments after it happened.

She says the parish council decided after 10 years there would not be another commemoration service in the village - they did not want to force victims' families to keep coming back.

Even for those not directly involved, the 20th anniversary will bring back memories of the week our region led every news bulletin for all the wrong reasons.

You can listen to some of BBC Radio Derby's coverage of the 20th anniversary of the Kegworth air disaster using the audio links above.

last updated: 08/01/2009 at 16:05
created: 07/01/2009

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