Thursday, November 19, 2009

Air crash survivor meets savior

A County Down man who was pulled alive from the ruins of one of the UK's most horrible air tragedies is to meet the man who rescued him, 20 years on.

Alan Johnston, from Strangford, survived the Kegworth air tragedy which claimed the lives of 47 people, but it took the power of the internet to reunite him with the man who helped save him.

The Belfast-bound plane crashed on an embankment of the M1 motorway while the pilots tried to create an crisis landing at East Midlands Airport in January 1989.

It later emerged that one engine had failed on the British Midland Boeing 737 flight, but the team mistakenly shut down the residual high-quality engine.

Mr Johnston was one of more than 70 survivors, and was helpful in the broken fuselage for two hours.

It was years later that he found out a RNLI crew had helped to eliminate casualties from the wreckage by lifting them on stretchers across the division of the aircraft - which was how he was brought to safety.

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