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Page last updated at 08:44 GMT, Monday, 21 December 2009
Stansted air crash - 10 years on
Scene of the Korean Air Cargo Boeing 747 crash near Stansted
The aircraft crashed minutes after taking off from Stansted Airport

On Wednesday, 22 December 1999 a Korean Air cargo jet crashed shortly after take off from Stansted Airport, killing all four crew members.

The accident was witnessed by motorists on the M11, who watched as the Boeing 747 came down on the outskirts of Hatfield Forest.

Wreckage was spread over hundreds of square yards at the crash site, though no-one on the ground was injured.

Following the crash, new safety checks on Korean Air planes were demanded.

"It was three days before Christmas, I got a call from the airport duty manager telling me we had an aircraft down a mile off the end of the runway," said Stansted press officer Carol Leach.

Police examine the scene of the Korean Air Cargo crash near Stansted
Passengers were stranded at Stansted Airport as the terminal closed

"I just dumped my shopping bags and headed for the airport."

Carol made her way to the airport knowing only a few details.

"I had a very sketchy idea of what had happened," she said.

"I knew between leaving home and getting to the airport that it was a cargo aircraft, so no passengers on board, only crew."

Carol had been made aware that there were no civilian casualties on the ground.

"It wasn't as bad as it might have been, but it was still a major incident," said Carol.

I feel very lucky because it had missed us
Valerie Mugele

Valerie Mugele was at home with her son when the accident happened.

She remembered looking out of the window and seeing a big orange glow and realising it was a plane that had come down.

"How do you feel and all that? I feel very lucky because it had missed us," said Valerie.

"They found the wing tip, lights and that in the field across the way. If it hadn't had hit the ground with the wing tip at that time it was on line to come straight through our house," she added.


Working that night was operations duty manager at the airport, Trevor Waldock, who helped the Air Accident Investigation Board piece together what had happened.

Debris from Korean Air cargo jet
Little remains of the Korean Air cargo jet crash in December 1999

""Wreckage was strewn everywhere, up into the trees," said Trevor.

"Having a look at the size of the aircraft and then going to the crash site the following day is what sticks in my mind," he added.

For people living around the airport it was a night they will never forget.

But, while it was a lucky escape for some, this anniversary will mean something very different to others.

"We're all here, we carry on, but in Korea there are four families that are remembering the anniversary that their husbands, fathers, grandfathers had died," said Valerie.

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