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Amazing story of pilot who was sucked out of plane at 23,000ft and survived

Amazing story of pilot who was sucked out of plane at 23,000ft and survived

Tim Lancaster was sucked out of the cockpit and lived to tell the tale

Social media users were left stunned after finding out about the incredible story of Captain Tim Lancaster - the British Airways pilot who got sucked out of the cockpit mid-flight, and amazingly lived to tell the tale.

A Twitter user shared photos from a reenactment of what happened, writing: "In 1990 the window of a plane fell off and one of the pilots got sucked out so they just held onto his legs while the plane landed."

And it turns out that the pilot in question is a bloke called Tim Lancaster, who was flying from Birmingham, England, to Malaga, Spain, in June 1990 when two of the plane's six cockpit windows shattered as they travelled over Oxfordshire.

He's the lad at the back.
PA Images / Alamy Stock Photo

Lancaster ended up being thrown out of his seat and sucked out of the window, while the force also blew the cockpit door from its hinges and nearly knocked flight attendant Nigel Ogden to the ground.

Thankfully, Ogden was able to rush into the cockpit to grab Lancaster's legs, just as he disappeared out of the window.

Ogden started slipping out of the opening as well, but a second cabin crew member called John Heward rushed into the cockpit and grabbed him by the belt, before another flight attendant strapped himself into the a pilot's chair and helped hold the chain of people down.

Meanwhile, Lancaster was exposed to the elements on the outside of the plane, holding on for dear life at 23,000ft - while co-pilot Alistair Atchinson took over the controls, shouting 'Mayday! Mayday!' into the radio.


Ogden told the Sydney Morning Herald: "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 seatbelt 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.

"His legs were jammed forward, disconnecting the autopilot, and the flight door was resting on the controls, sending the plane hurtling down at nearly 650kmh through some of the most congested skies in the world."

He continued: "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 6 feet long. Most terrifyingly, his eyes were wide open. I'll never forget that sight as long as I live."


Amazingly, co-pilot Atchinson managed to get the plane under control, and the aircraft eventually landed at Southampton Airport, where crew were met by the emergency services.

Even more incredibly, Lancaster managed to survive the ordeal, suffering several fractures and frostbite.

The shocking story was the subject of a documentary called Air Crash Investigation - Blow Out, which featured a recreation of what happened and aired on National Geographic in 2005.

But now Lancaster and his crew have found fame all over again in the viral world, with screenshots of the reenactment racking up more than 170,000 likes and 38,000 retweets.

Words by Jess Hardiman

Featured Image Credit: Reconstruction/Discovery

Topics: Weird