Kegworth Air Disaster: 30 Years On

8 January 2019, 06:27

Kegworth Air Disaster 2

30 years on after the Kegworth Air Disaster, a special service will take place to remember those affected.

47 people died on board a British Midland jet which downed on the bank of the M1 as it attempted to make an emergency landing at East Midlands Airport in Leicestershire. 

The flight from Heathrow to Belfast was carrying 126 passengers and crew. 

An engine failure caused by a damaged fan blade brought the British Midland jet down.

Air Accident investigators found that had cracked and loosened due to fatigue, but the pilot didn't know which engine was malfunctioning.

Martin Hawksworth was one of the first Leicestershire Police officers on the scene. He was at first one of the officers manning an emergency rendezvous point at the airport for when emergency landings were taking place. 

 

He told Capital: "I could see the plane coming in. It was dark, of course, 8o'clock at night in January. But there was a flash as it got towards the motorway. Like a bluey-brown flash. Then it disppeared. 

"All the officers looked at each other and said 'my God, it's gone down." 

They rushed to the scene to begin the relief effort to help those on board. 

Martin told Capital: "It was just the number of people who were being brought out of the plane, dead. You were just thinking, gosh not another one. 

"There was a blanket on the bank, and I said to my colleague, 'what's that?'

"So I went to look, pulled it back, and there was a little boy, who'd obviously died. He looked just like my lad.

"It was so harrowing."

One of those who survived the crash was Stephen McCoy, 47, from Toomebridge, County Antrim, Northern Ireland. He was left brain damaged after spending three years in hospital. 

His sister, Yvonne, now looks after him as his full time carer. She told Capital at numerous points he was going to die. But he fought on. 

She told us: "It was very upsetting. We thought he was going to die throughout the time he was in hospital. 

"It's robbed Stephen of being a father, a husband, a career. He was going to be a boxer. But for us as a family, it's so upsetting as it's robbed him of this and we can't grieve for Stephen. He's with us, but he's not the Stephen we knew." 

Survivors, emergency crews, airport staff, families and villagers in Kegworth are going to be meeting later to remember those who died and those affected. 

The parish council has set up a special service at St Andrew's Church at 11am, and wreaths will be laid at the village's cemetery to commemorate the anniversary.

There will then be time for people to meet up to talk at the village hall, to remember what happened.