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On June 10, 1990, British Airways Flight 5390 was a scheduled aircraft that traveled from Birmingham in the United Kingdom to Malaga in Spain. The journey was carried out by a British Aerospace 146 aircraft, and it had a total of 81 passengers on board in addition to 6 members of the crew.

The incident took place approximately twenty minutes after the aircraft had taken off from Birmingham. An explosion caused the left windscreen of the cockpit to blow out, which resulted in the captain, Tim Lancaster, being partially sucked out of the plane. The power of the wind was so intense that it ripped off Lancaster’s headset, and his torso was wedged between the cockpit and the plane’s fuselage, while his legs dangled outside the aircraft. The wind also caused Lancaster’s legs to be dangling outside the plane.


Alastair Atchison, the plane’s co-pilot, immediately took control of the aircraft and began an emergency descent to 10,000 feet to ensure Lancaster’s survival. The high altitude and low temperatures could have caused hypoxia and frostbite, so Atchison started the descent as soon as he could. Atchison also placed an urgent contact with the air traffic control center, during which he repeated the phrase “Mayday, Mayday, Mayday.” Flight number 5390 for British Airlines. There is a hole in the windscreen that runs along the length of the cockpit. It appears that the skipper has been pulled out of the window.

During this time, members of the flight crew and other passengers did their best to keep hold of Lancaster and prevent him from being sucked out of the aircraft entirely. Flight attendant Nigel Ogden was able to secure a hold on Captain Lancaster’s belt and held to it for dear life as other members of the staff and passengers held onto Lancaster’s legs. Lancaster remained conscious throughout the entire ordeal, despite the excruciating agony he was in as well as the frostbite he was suffering from.

Atchison was successful in making a secure landing at Southampton Airport, and Lancaster was taken to the nearby hospital after the accident. Remarkably, Lancaster was able to survive the incident, despite suffering multiple injuries as a result of it. These injuries included frostbite, a broken arm, and a partially collapsed lung. He was able to make a complete recovery and was flying again nine months after his accident.


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These are screenshots from a 2005 episode of the TV Show Air Crash Investigation/Mayday

The faulty installation of the windscreen, which had been replaced by an engineer who had not followed the correct procedures, was determined to have been the root cause of the accident after it was investigated. The engineer had used bolts that were lacking for the task at hand, which is what ultimately led to the windscreen becoming dislodged. As a direct consequence of the accident, British Airways revised its procedures for aircraft maintenance and introduced more strict standards for the installation of windscreens.

It is a testament to the bravery and quick thinking of the crew members and passengers on board Flight 5390 that this incident remains one of the most incredible accounts of survival in the history of aviation.

In the aftermath of the accident involving British Airways Flight 5390, here are some interesting and less well-known details.


  • Tim Lancaster was able to survive the incident in which he was partially sucked out of the plane because he was wearing his seatbelt, which prevented him from being completely ejected from the airplane. This allowed him to survive the incident.
  • John Heward, a medical professional who was also a passenger on the flight, rushed to Lancaster’s assistance when the incident occurred and assisted in keeping him conscious throughout the ordeal.
  • A passenger on the aircraft managed to record the occurrence on video, which was subsequently utilized as evidence during the investigation that followed.
  • Later on, the Queen’s Gallantry Award was awarded to Nigel Ogden, the flight attendant who had held onto Lancaster during the incident, in recognition of his valorous actions.


  • After the event, Lancaster turned his experience into a career as a motivational speaker, drawing from it to teach others the value of working together, maintaining open lines of communication, and remaining composed in the face of difficulty.
  • The event acted as the impetus for a movie that was produced specifically for television and given the title “Miracle Landing.” The film debuted in 1990 and featured Connie Sellecca and Wayne Rogers.
  • The accident that occurred on British Airways Flight 5390 is frequently used as an example of the significance of always fastening one’s seatbelt while traveling by airplane, given that doing so can mean the difference between life and death in the event of an unexpected incident.
  • The only reason the crew clung to him was out of fear that his body would collide with the turbines or cause damage to the wing. They were confident that he had passed away. They also desired to return his corpse to his family in his hometown.


  • There was another incident in which a woman was fatally injured after being partially pulled out of a passenger window.
  • These images were captured from an episode of the documentary television series Air Crash Investigation/Mayday that aired in 2005. The series concentrates on air disasters and investigations. The people depicted in the photographs are actors who are working on a set, and the individual who is seen carrying what appears to be a body is holding a prop. The picture that is displayed above is a computer-generated one. It is essential to keep in mind that the events depicted in these pictures did not take place.

The miraculous survival of Tim Lancaster and the valiant actions of the crew and passengers on board British Airways Flight 5390 continue to inspire people and serve as a reminder of how important it is for the aviation industry to follow proper maintenance procedures and be prepared for any emergency that may emerge.

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