Captain Pulled Out of Plane After Windscreen Separates and Survives the 22 Minute Landing

I was joking around and trolling myself on Twitter–mostly because I’ve been home sick all day and the cabin fever is really setting in.

So I posted this in response to a (maybe not the best) title of mine.

Reader Nikki send me a link in response, and I’ve been watching this ever since.

It was to a documentary about an emergency on British Airways Flight 5390 on June 10, 1990. The window screen on the captain’s side of this flight was improperly installed and separated during flight. The rushing air caused the captain to fly out of the plane, but he was saved by a flight attendant who grabbed onto his belt.  He remained pressed up against the outside of the plane for the rest of the flight.

The flight attendant held him outside for the remaining 22 minutes, developing frostbite, all while not knowing if the captain were alive or dead.

Once the plane landed, the captain was miraculously alive.  He suffered frost bite, broken bones, and shock.  But he was alive.

According to the Wikipedia article on it, he was back flying within 5-months.

The video is really worth a watch.  Especially when the crew talks about having to decide whether or not to leave the captain for dead (mostly because they all assumed he was dead by that point!)

They ultimately decided to keep holding him.  The flight attendant talks about how he stopped being able to feel his hands.  But he still kept holding the captain, and that’s what saved his life.


About Jeanne Marie Hoffman

Former bartender, still a geek. One equal part each cookies, liberty, football, music, travel, libations. Stir vigorously. +Jeanne Marie Hoffman Jeanne on Twitter

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  1. The documentary was fascinating. I did not know about the event. Thank you for sharing it. What struck me was the comment about having more work than they could handle. I have brought up the same thing at work and the reply is that the workload is average and that some locations have even more work. Employees are expected to just stay quiet. I will share this story. It really says a lot about the strength of human willpower and professionalism.

  2. Hahahahahaha.

    I read this headline and thought, “what?! Did we not learn our lesson after flight 5390?!” But I now see that’s the flight you were referring to.

    Yes, quite the feat! That’s also why we construct planes with the wind screen installed from the inside now!

    Yay safety!

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