Inspiring People

5 Heroic Flight Attendants

BOAC Flight 712, 8thApril, 1968This Boeing 707-465 had just left Heathrow bound for Sydney, Australia via Zurich and Singapore when an engine failure during take-off led to a terrible fire and the engine in question fell from the aircraft in mid-air, landing in a gravel pit where some children were playing in nearby Thorpe, miraculously causing no injuries. However, despite a successful emergency landing being made, 5 people on board perished. Amongst the dead was 22-year-old flight attendant Barbara Jane Harrison, who remained at her post at the rear starboard door encouraging passengers to jump to safety; ultimately sacrificing her life because she refused to abandon her post until everyone had been evacuated. Her body was found next to that of a disabled passenger who she had been attempting to rescue. She was awarded a posthumous George Cross for her actions and this remains the only such medal awarded to a female during peacetime[caption id="attachment_3909" align="aligncenter" width="478"] Barbara Jane Harrison[/caption]British Airtours Flight 28M, 22nd August 1985As this international passenger flight rested on Manchester International Airport’s Runway 24 in preparation to ferry passengers to Corfu, Captain Peter Terrington and First Officer Brian Love heard a loud thumping noise and thought a tyre had burst. They abandoned take off and engaged the thrust reverses, gradually braking until the plane was positioned in a taxiway to the right of the runway. However, the crew soon discovered that the source of the problem was actually an intense fire in engine No.1. Tragically, the blaze soon spread into the deaths of 53 passengers and 2 cabin crew, most of whom died of smoke inhalation. The two rear cabin crew who met their deaths bravely in the line of duty whilst opening the rear doors were Jacqui Ubanski and Sharon Ford and both were posthumously awarded the Queen’s Gallantry Medal. Meanwhile, the two forward flight attendants, Arthur Brad bury and Joanna Toff, returned time and time again to the blazing cabin to drag passengers to safety and both were awarded the same honour as their sadly deceased colleagues.[caption id="attachment_3910" align="aligncenter" width="500"] British Airtours Flight 28M, 22nd August 1985[/caption]Pan Am Flight 73, September 5th 1986This Boeing 747-121 was hijacked by four armed members of the Abu NidalOrganisation whilst on the ground at Karachi, Pakistan. Of the360 onboard the craft, twenty passengers were killed by the hijackers; 7 from the United States and 13 from India. During the stand-off, flight attendants were ordered to collect the passports of passengers. Senior Purser NeerjaBhanot, fearing that US citizens onboard would be singled out for execution, hid some of the US passports under a seat, whilst the rest were disposed of in a waste chute. At the climax of the incident as the hijackers threw a grenade and began randomly opening fir upon passengers, NeerjaBhanot deployed an escape chute from an emergency door which passengers had managed to open and assisted several to escape. She was killed whilst heroically protecting three children from the gunfire. Just 22 at the time of her death, the Government of India posthumously awarded her the Ashoka Chakra; the highest civilian award for bravery, whilst the United States Department of Justice posthumously awarded her the Special Courage Award.[caption id="attachment_3911" align="aligncenter" width="318"] Neerja Bhanot[/caption]Aloha Airlines Flight 243, April 28th, 1988This Boeing 732-297 was travelling between Hilo and Honolulu in Hawaii when it suffered a major explosive decompression during flight. It was able to land safely at Kahului Airport on Maui with no fatalities except flight attendant C. B.ILansing, who was blown out of the aircraft to meet her tragic demise. Flight Attendant Michelle Honda suffered serious injuries when she was thrown to the floor during the decompression; with the result that she was unable to walk. Nevertheless, she bravely crawled up and down the aisles reassuring and assisting passengers[caption id="attachment_3912" align="aligncenter" width="598"] Aloha Airlines Flight 243, April 28th, 1988[/caption]British Airways Flight 5390, 10thJune, 1990This flight from Birmingham to Malaga had only been in the air for around 15 minutes when the left cockpit windscreen suffered a nightmarish failure and caused Captain Lancaster to be violently sucked out of the window with only his legs, which has caught on flight controls, providing any purchase. Flight attendant Nigel Ogden managed to hold on to the pilot throughout the emergency descent and eventual landing at Southampton, suffering bruising and frostbite for his efforts. Captain Lancaster has been presumed dead by the crew but they held onto him desperately in order to avoid his body flying into the aircraft engine. In fact, despite suffering severe injuries and shock, he was very much alive, and returned to work five months later. Nigel Ogden suffered a dislocated shoulder and severe frostbite to his face and eye. His actions, and those of the two flight attendant colleagues who relieved him shortly before landing, saved the life of the pilot and ensured that there were no fatalities whatsoever.[caption id="attachment_3914" align="aligncenter" width="300"] British Airways Flight 5390, 10thJune, 1990[/caption]]]>

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Dr Prem Jagyasi

Dr Prem is an award winning strategic leader, renowned author, publisher and highly acclaimed global speaker. Aside from publishing a bevy of life improvement guides, Dr Prem runs a network of 50 niche websites that attracts millions of readers across the globe. Thus far, Dr Prem has traveled to more than 40 countries, addressed numerous international conferences and offered his expert training and consultancy services to more than 150 international organizations. He also owns and leads a web services and technology business, supervised and managed by his eminent team. Dr Prem further takes great delight in travel photography.

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