East Midlands Airport Crash Today: A Boeing 737-400, operated by British Midland Airways, crashed into an embankment of the M1 motorway at Kegworth, Leicestershire, England, on 8 January 1989 while trying to make an emergency landing at East Midlands Airport. The accident was dubbed the “Kegworth air tragedy.”
In the left engine of the aircraft, a fan blade snapped, causing it to lose power and fill the cabin with smoke. The plane was on a scheduled trip from London Heathrow Airport to Belfast International Airport at the time. The pilots assumed that this indicated a problem with the right engine since previous versions of the 737 ventilated the cabin from the right, and they were not aware that the -400 utilized a different ventilation system than the earlier models.
The pilots made the error of shutting down the working engine. They chose full thrust from the faulty one, which increased the fuel supply of the aircraft, causing it to catch fire and crash. 47 people perished and 74 people were seriously injured out of a total of 126 passengers on board.
During the investigation, it was determined that the blade fracture was caused by metal fatigue in the newly improved engines, which had only been tested in the laboratory and not under realistic flight circumstances.
The engine compressor stall of a cargo aircraft that was landing produced the flames that were observed pouring from the engine.
Tony Johnson captured the “split-second” event at East Midlands Airport in Leicestershire at around 16:00 BST on Thursday, according to the photographer.
However, according to Kalitta Air, it is not yet known what caused the engine to stall, although it is probable that it was caused by the swallowing of an inanimate item such as a bird.
A spokesman for the airport said that no action on the part of airport personnel was needed.
Mr Johnson, a Nottingham-based aviation enthusiast, captured images of the event aboard the Boeing 747 while waiting for the arrival of another plane.
When the flight arrived in the United States from Leipzig, Germany, according to Kalitta Air, the engine stalled and the plane had to be abandoned.
In the report, it said that “no indication was there inside of the cockpit throughout the landing, and the crew was not aware of this until they were informed by people at the airport.”
It was determined that there were no abnormal engine indicators or exceedances.
It said that maintenance crews were now examining the engine from the outside as well as the inside for potential faults.
Although the exact reason of the engine compressor stall would need more investigation, the claim that a bird or other item had been swallowed may be a contributing factor, the report stated.
“Once we have received the findings of this examination, we will make a decision on what measures we will take.”
A team from Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service was summoned to the airport, however personnel were stood down and the situation was handled by a crew already on the scene, according to the agency.