Watch moment Newham man runs from burning British Airways jet
PUBLISHED: 12:02 11 September 2015 | UPDATED: 17:31 11 September 2015
A passenger from East Ham aboard the ill-fated British Airways flight shouted “stop this plane” moments before the engine erupted into flames.
The 45-year-old, who wished to remain anonymous, was evacuated from the burning London-bound flight on Tuesday.
Describing the “terrifying” moment he thought he was seconds away from death he said: “I saw the flames and thought that thing is full of petrol and it’s going to blow.”
The business class flier said instinct told him something was wrong before the fire had started.
“The plane got faster and faster and it didn’t feel right. Then there was a massive bang,” he said.
“I was at the very front of the plane and at first I smelt a urine smell and thought that was strange then I felt the wheels below me go funny and I shouted ‘stop this plane’.
“I’m a very frequent flier and as the plane gathered speed I knew something was wrong – it was automatic instinct. Four seconds later we heard a really loud bang and then immediately the pilot stopped the plane.”
Flight 2276 caught fire sending smoke billowing into the air at McCarran International airport in Las Vegas on Tuesday.
The East Ham passenger said the plane was speeding down the runway topping speeds of 110mph and they were “moments” from takeoff when the pilot slammed on the breaks.
“We stopped and then came the smoke,” he added.
“It started off grey and then got intense and turned into black smoke.
“First we thought the smoke was from the brakes screeching but then someone shouted that the engine was on fire.
“In economy the cabin was filled with smoke. Apparently they were inhaling it and couldn’t breath.”
The captain shouted for everyone to evacuate and passengers helped air stewards open the doors to inflate emergency slides.
“Those five seconds were terrifying,” he added.
“It’s so scary and about 25 foot high in the air and you just have to jump down it.
“Once out we could feel the intensity of the fire even though it was 150 feet away.
“I started running away from the plane because it was full of petrol and could explode at any time.”
All 157 passengers and 13 crew – including three pilots – on board were evacuated, and the fire was swiftly put out by around 50 firefighters.
A spokesman from British Airways said the majority of customers have now arrived in the UK.
He added: “We appreciate this has been a very difficult time for our customers and we have set up a special customer care team to help them with any extra support they need.
The safety of our customers and crew is always our highest priority.”
The man from East Ham flew home on Wednesday on a Virgin flight.
“I felt too scared to get on the same British Airways flight they were putting on for us,” he said.
“It had the same flight number and everything.”
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