Friday, January 8, 1999 Published at 18:03 GMT
Kegworth: 10 years on
Although 47 people died, more than 70 survived
The Boeing 737-400 ploughed into an embankment of the M1 motorway near the Leicestershire village of Kegworth.
More than 70 of the passengers survived. Probably because traffic was light late on a Sunday evening, no-one travelling along what is normally one of the busiest stretches of motorway in Europe was involved.
Engine on fire
Just 18 days after the Lockerbie disaster had claimed 270 lives, the British Midland aircraft left London's Heathrow airport for Belfast.
The left engine was on fire, but Captain Kevin Hunt and co-pilot David McClelland - both badly hurt in the crash - thought it was the right engine and shut the wrong one down.
They tried to land the blazing aircraft at British Midland's "home" airport - East Midlands.
The nose broke off and the tail flipped over as the plane's speed dropped from 100mph to total standstill in about a second.
'Fifty tonne glider'
He says: "I believe what happened could have happened to any pilots.
"As we approached the airport we didn't need much power so the defective engine worked OK.
"But as we made our final approach, we put on power and the engine just conked out.
"At 900 feet we became a glider - a fifty tonne glider with ten tonnes of fuel, and we approached the ground pretty fast."
A total of 39 people died at the scene, including Mr Desmond's wife, who was sitting beside him. Eight other people died later.
Recalling the crash, Mr Crymble said: "It was so sudden and so fast. I can remember seeing torn seats all around and people being hit by luggage falling out of the overhead lockers.
"I had been talking on the flight to a girl sitting next to me. Later I heard she had died."
Survivor Chris Thompson has campaigned relentlessly to improve air safety since the crash.
Thanks to the Belfast businessman's intense lobbying, rear view cockpit cameras are now in service with some UK operators.
Another aspect of safety which received attention as a result of the crash stemmed from the fact that although many passengers were killed and horrifically injured, others sustained only minor cuts and bruises.
This discrepancy led an orthopaedic surgeon operating on survivors to help conduct a study into the Kegworth disaster.
"There were many fractures where people's legs flailed under the seat infront, and of course arm and head injuries as they shot forward.
"I'm pleased to say the CAA and British airlines have now adopted our recommended brace position with you head forward by your knees, your hands over your head, and your feet firmly planted behind your knees so they can't shoot forward."
But Prof Wallace would like to see further safety measures - including rear-facing seats in all aircraft, a possibility that has been considered and rejected by different airlines, and not purely, they say, for reasons of cost.
Backwards is safer
Chairman of British Midland Airways, Sir Michael Bishop said: "There is no doubt that research has shown it is safer to fly backwards.
"However, the public don't want it - they don't want to fly backwards. Somehow they feel more frightened if they face backwards than forwards."
The crash did, however, lead to improved communications between pilots and cabin crew.
Mr Thompson said the plane had been modified and the pilots had only seen a 45-minute video to explain the new adaptions.
He said: "That plane should never have been in the air.
"But there are things which have come out of this which thankfully should have improved things."