Pilot sucked out of cockpit at 23,000ft saved from death by crew ‘grabbing legs’

The internet has been rendered gobsmacked after finding out about the story of a pilot, who found himself sucked out of the cockpit in the middle of a flight.

Back in 1990, British Airways' Captain Tim Lancaster, nearly lost his life after disaster struck.

During a flight from Birmingham, England, to Malaga, Spain, two of the aircraft's six cockpit windows smashed as they flew over Oxfordshire.

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A social media user took to Twitter to post pictures of the re-enactment, commenting: "In 1990, the window of a plane fell off, and one of the pilots got sucked out, so they just held onto his legs while the plane landed."

In a terrifying turn of events, Lancaster was launched from his seat and sucked out of the window.

Luckily flight attendant Nigel Ogden, who narrowly avoided being taken out by a cockpit door that was blown from its hinges, grabbed his captain's legs just in the nick of time.

However, while he was able to prevent Lancaster from falling to his death, he struggled to overcome the fierce winds fighting to drag the pilot to his doom. Ogden slowly started to slip out of the window, when thankfully, John Heward, a cabin crew member, rushed into the cockpit and grabbed him by the belt.

Shortly after, another flight attendant strapped himself into the pilot's chair and held the chain of people down.

While the co-pilot, Alistair Atchinson, screamed 'Mayday' into the radio, Lancaster was being exposed to the fearsome winds of Mother Nature. He desperately held on, knowing full well his life depended on it.

In an interview with The Sydney Morning Herald, Ogden said: "I whipped round and saw the front windscreen had disappeared and Tim, the pilot, was going out through it – he had been sucked out of his seatbelt, and all I could see were his legs.

"I jumped over the control column and grabbed him round his waist to avoid him going out completely.

"His shirt had been pulled off his back and his body was bent upwards, doubled over round the top of the aircraft.

"His legs were jammed forward, disconnecting the autopilot, and the flight door was resting on the controls, sending the plane hurtling down at nearly 650kmh through some of the most congested skies in the world."

He continued: "I thought I was going to lose him, but he ended up bent in a U-shape around the windows.

"His face was banging against the window with blood coming out of his nose and the side of his head, his arms were flailing and seemed about 6 feet long. Most terrifyingly, his eyes were wide open. I'll never forget that sight as long as I live."

Somehow, Atchinson managed to save the day. With incredible composure, he landed the plane at Southampton Airport.

Emergency Services quickly attended to Lancaster, who, while suffering several fractures and frostbite, made a full recovery.

The gobsmacking story originally made waves in 2005. The tale featured in a National Geographic documentary entitled Air Crash Investigation – Blow Out.

But nearly 18 years after the incident, the crew have gone viral once again. The screenshots of the reenactment have accumulated a whopping 170,000 likes and 38,000 retweets.

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