On this day in auto history - January 8th

Fri 8th Jan 2021

It was on this day in 1989 that what was to become known as the 'Kegworth air disaster' occurred when a Boeing 737 crashed into an embankment on the M1 in Leicestershire at 8.26pm. The accident killed 47 passengers and seriously injured many of the 112 survivors.

Miraculously, no vehicles were struck on the motorway and many motorists were able to rush to the crash scene to help with the rescue operation.

The airplane - on a scheduled flight from Heathrow to Belfast - was attempting to make an emergency landing at the nearby East Midlands airport after the engines had failed.

An inquest later heard how the airplane had effectively bounced on a section of the M1 before crashing into the embankment. It was purely by chance that there were no vehicles travelling on that section of the motorway at the time, otherwise the casualty figure would have been much higher.

Nine years later, Graham Pearson - a passing motorist who assisted survivors - sued the airline for ‘post traumatic stress disorder’ and was awarded £57,000 damages.