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1985, Manchester airport, private service held

ProfilePosted byOptionsPost Date

Elizabethofseasons

Elizabethofseasons Report 23 Aug 2010 00:02

Dear All

Hello

A memorial service has taken place to mark the 25th anniversary of the Manchester airport fire disaster.

Passengers who survived and relatives of those who died attended a private service at the airport.

The plane was bound for the Greek island of Corfu at the height of the holiday season.

Fifty-five people were killed when a British Airtours plane bound for Corfu caught fire on the runway at Manchester airport in August 1985.

There were 131 passengers and six crew members on board the Boeing 737 when the fire broke out. Two crew members and 53 passengers died, the majority from smoke inhalation.

Kevin Ball, the airport's chaplain said: "We've found that people want to be in the area where things have happened.

"People feel very close to their loved ones at the incident scene and so it's appropriate that we do welcome them."

He said that relatives of those who died and survivors still need to grieve and remember to enable them to live with the impact of the event.

Many safety improvements were introduced after the disaster, including adding fire-blocking seat covers and more fire extinguishers on planes.

Steps were also taken to alter aircraft design to make it easier for passengers to escape in the event of an incident.

David Learmount, editor of Flight International magazine, said: "The pilots got a warning that an engine had failed and they started to abandon the take-off, but they didn't get any warnings about a fire.

"If you turn off the runway to the right, which he did, he was putting that burning wing up-wind of the fuselage where all the passengers were and the fire just swept towards the aeroplane and engulfed it.

"If such an event were to happen again, the pilot wouldn't turn off the runway, he'd stop on the runway even if it closed the airport down, and he'd get everybody out absolutely instantly."

The surviving cabin crew and two members of the Manchester airport fire service were awarded the Queen's Gallantry Medal for their individual bravery on the day.

The two flight attendants who died were also awarded the same honour posthumously.

Take gentle care
Very sincere wishes
xx