Passengers Shocked After Captain 'Flees Plane' After Fire Breaks Out
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Passengers were in complete shock as a captain allegedly fled his plane after a fire broke out, leaving those on board ‘sat there like lemmings’ as he ‘ran to safety’.
Andrew Benion, 50, was one of a number of Brits flying home last Thursday (21 July) when the ‘terrifying’ incident happened.
He claims that, rather than helping passengers during the emergency, the captain did a ‘full Costa Concordia’ – a reference to the Italian cruise ship captain that abandoned his vessel as it sank in 2012, with the disaster resulting in 32 deaths.
Benion, from Telford in Shropshire, was travelling back to the UK after enjoying a £4,000 Mediterranean cruise to celebrate his 50th birthday with wife Clare, 46.
After setting off from Rome, they arrived in Barcelona for the next leg of their return journey and boarded the flight to Birmingham on a different airline after their original flights were cancelled.
But things took a ‘shocking’ turn when passengers started ‘belting up’.
Speaking to The Sun, Benion recalled: “Suddenly there was this huge bang and smell of burning smoke coming from the back of the plane.
“All the lights went off and the emergency lights came on – it was terrifying.
“Next thing the stewards start go into melt-down, running up and down aisle – first, telling everyone to keep belts on, then to tell everyone to take their belts off.
“One ran into the cockpit to tell the captain. Then as soon as a stewardess opened the front door the captain ran straight off. He was just gone. He was first off the plane.
“He did a full Costa Concordia.”
Benion continued: “You’ve never seen anything like it. If we weren’t all so frightened it would have been complete comedy.
“His door opened then the side door opened and bang – he was just gone.
“Then all his crew ran off after him and LEFT us all.
“There was only one stewardess left on the plane and you could see the fear on her face.
“She started screaming for everyone to get off.
“The Spanish person next to us translated and said, ‘The plane is on fire’.
“We couldn’t believe the captain just left us like that – he was running off to safety and we were all sat there like lemmings.”
According to flight data, the flight was scheduled to depart at 11.55am, but didn’t end up leaving until 2.59pm, arriving in Birmingham almost three hours late.
Benion said passengers had to get off their first plane to wait for another aircraft and captain, and that everyone felt 'totally panicked' amid the chaos.
“We were getting off the plane and all the fire engines and ambulances were turning up,” he explained.
“They took us into a glass reception area and all the doors were locked – then we were surrounded by police.
“They were acting as if there was a terrorist attack.
“We could see them spraying the back of the plane but all the staff refused to talk to us.
“They left us in there for an hour, then took us to another plane and left us on there for 90 more minutes while it was refuelled.
“A different captain then turned up on the plane and apologised but refused to go into detail.
“He just said, ‘We apologise for the inconvenience – we’re going to get you back to Birmingham as soon as possible’.
“We eventually took off but obviously the atmosphere on the plane was shockingly bad – no refreshments of drinks or anything.
“And of course no-one wanted to be on this plane – we were all terrified.
“It makes you think if that had happened when we were taking off it could have been catastrophic.”
LADbible has contacted Vueling and International Airlines Group, which owns the airline, for comment.