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|August 22nd, 2005, 06:50 PM||#1|
Join Date: Aug 2005
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Seems the last thread is gone, so I'll start a new one.
Today is the 20th anniversasry of the plane crash at Manchester airport that killed 55 people.
This crash led to many improvements in plane saftey that we all take for granted today.
The MEN is carrying this story...
Manchester air disaster: 20 years on
FAMILIES and friends of the 55 people who died in the Manchester air disaster were due to gather at the airport today to mark the 20th anniversary of the tragedy.
Survivors and representatives from the emergency services were also due to attend the private memorial service for the passengers and crew.
The catastrophe happened when the Boeing 737 flying in the colours of British Airtours, was heading down the runway ready to take off with holidaymakers bound for Corfu.
It was travelling at 140mph when the port engine exploded and debris punctured the wing and a fuel tank.
The plane's captain was able to abort take off and, following procedure, turned the plane off the runway towards the fire station.
But the change of direction meant that the flames quickly spread to the rear of the aircraft.
The way the seats were arranged around the emergency exits impeded the attempts to evacuate the plane as deadly fumes soon spread and the rear escape chutes could not be operated.
Firemen were at the scene within minutes and many of the people sliding down the two front chutes on the aircraft were smothered in foam being used to put out the flames. Eighty two people managed to escape but 55 others, including two cabin crew, were killed.
William Beckett's daughter Sarah, 18, was flying by herself for the first time and was due to take a job as a nanny when she died in the tragedy.
Mr Beckett, 59, from Sheffield, said: "When you take one person away from the family it leaves a huge void and the whole chemistry of the family changes. It is desperately difficult to adjust and to come to terms with. You manage, but it's always there."
Mr Beckett, who has three other grown-up children, revealed that he was nearly involved in a head-on crash as he drove Sarah to the airport on that fateful day. He said: "I sometimes think what might have happened if we had crashed and been unable to get to the airport."
The family trauma was made worse in the aftermath as Sarah's death was not officially confirmed until five days after the crash.
One air hostess, Joanna Toff, dragged passengers to safety from the blazing aircraft. She was awarded the Queen's Gallantry Medal for bravery after crawling to reach choking passengers and drag them to the escape chute of the wreck.
The former stewardess - who has since married and is now Joanna Caston - saved many passengers, including a young girl who was trampled underfoot in the stampede to escape.
She lives in France but was due to fly in for the service.
Survivor Lindsay Davies, of Sale, 44, said: "It has changed my life but very positively. I am the most outgoing, optimistic, laid back and happy person. I realise you could be there one minute and gone the next."
Geoff Muirhead, chief executive of Manchester Airport Group said: "Today we should remember the people who lost their lives 20 years ago and our thoughts are with their relatives, the survivors of the incident and the people involved in the rescue operation on that day - many of whom are due to attend a special remembrance service at Manchester Airport.
"Aviation remains the safest form of public transport because the industry continues to make safety its highest priority."