England

Transplant 'success' despite Birmingham Airport crash

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Media captionThe aftermath of the plane crash site at Birmingham airport

A transplant operation went ahead successfully after the patient's new liver was saved from the wreckage of a plane crash at Birmingham Airport.

The organ was onboard the aircraft, from Belfast, which hit the airport's landing system antennae on Friday.

The pilot was seriously injured and another man had minor injuries.

Thousands of people had their journeys affected as the airport's runway was shut for nearly 24 hours. Flights are now returning to normal.

The transplant organ was safely delivered to the hospital by a police motorbike following the crash.

Birmingham's Queen Elizabeth Hospital said the liver was not damaged and was able to be transplanted "succesfully".

'Quick-thinking'

A spokeswoman said the patient was now in a stable condition at the hospital.

She said the operation, which took under four hours, was the sixth liver transplant in five days at the hospital.

The spokeswoman added: "The transplant team would like to thank the pilot of the light aircraft and his colleague for their bravery. Our thoughts are with the individuals and their families.

"The team would also like to thank the quick-thinking of the fire and rescue teams at the scene who saved the organ."

The crash happened shortly after 1530 GMT on Friday when the private jet came in to land in thick fog, causing the airport's runway to be shut.

The airport reopened shortly after 1200 GMT and airport officials said some 80 flights had been affected in total.

Its chief executive, Paul Kehoe, estimated that about 4,000 to 5,000 passengers had been affected on Saturday morning.

The airport said the investigation by the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) on the airfield had been completed and necessary safety checks carried out.

The pilot of the Cessna, a 58-year-old man, was trapped in the wreckage after the crash, suffering from multiple injuries, and was airlifted to hospital, while the other casualty was less seriously hurt.

'Passengers' patience'

Some passengers on Saturday morning flew out to their destinations by checking in at Birmingham Airport and then getting a bus to East Midlands Airport or Manchester Airport.

Image caption The airport has been advising passengers to check the situation with their airlines

Birmingham Airport spokeswoman Justine Hunt said: "The airport would like to thank the emergency services and authorities involved for their assistance during the last 24 hours, as well as its passengers for their patience."

It emerged that a pilot from the Warwickshire and Northamptonshire Air Ambulance (WNAA) approached the remains of the burning Cessna to cut its fuel supply after the crash.

An air ambulance spokesman said the foggy conditions on Friday afternoon had made the rescue mission extremely difficult.

The spokesman described the air ambulance pilot on the scene as "brave".

He said: "[He used] his aviation and technical knowledge to locate and cut the fuel supply to the engine and make the patient more accessible to the fire service."

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