Birmingham & Black Country

Birmingham Airport liver transplant plane crashed in fog

Scene (pic: AIRTEAMIMAGES.com)
Image caption The donor liver was rescued from the burning aircraft and successfully transplanted into the patient

A plane carrying a donor liver flew into an antenna as it came in to land at Birmingham Airport in thick fog, the Air Accident Investigation Branch said.

The Cessna, from Belfast, hit a 50ft-high flight-guiding antenna on 19 November then crash landed in the grass verge by the runway and caught fire.

The captain was trapped in the cockpit and used an extinguisher to cope with the flames around him, the report said.

No-one died and the undamaged liver was successfully transplanted.

Fire crews "could not immediately locate the accident site" because the fog was so thick, the accident investigation report said.

'Unusual fog'

Firefighters were on the scene within three minutes, extinguished the fire and helped to free the captain and the donor liver bound for Birmingham's Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

It had been flown from Belfast Aldergrove Airport for a patient who was in a critical condition awaiting a transplant.

Airfield witnesses said the weather was "extremely unusual, both for the sharp delineation between the fog and the area of clear visibility, with blue sky and sunshine, and for the speed with which the fog engulfed the airfield", investigators said.

The 58-year-old captain was treated for multiple serious injuries and the co-pilot, who managed to escape, had only minor injuries.

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