Woman's terror at seeing engine burst into flames mid-air on BA flight
A woman has told of the terrifying moment she saw a plane's engine burst into flames in mid-air on a British Airways flight.
Megan Ludi was two hours into a nine-hour flight from South Africa to London when she saw a 'big ball of red and orange' firing out of the plane's right wing.
Megan, from Cape Town, described how she was happily in the middle of watching Russell Brand film, Arthur, when the fire occurred - and how she and her 45-year-old husband Peter could feel its heat through the window.
She told the Daily Mail: 'I was enjoying a comedy film when the plane started to shake like we were driving on gravel.
'Suddenly my husband sat bolt upright and pointed outside. It was pitch black apart from this big ball of red and orange coming from the engine near the tip of the wing.
'It was so frightening, like something from a big-budget movie. We felt the temperature rise, which was very strange.
'My first thought was for my five-year-old daughter Alexia, who we'd left at home with my parents. I really thought we might die.'
She added: 'To see a streak of flames coming from a plane when you're flying with such a big airline is just such a shock.
'It felt like the fire was going for ages, but I guess the worst of it was probably over in 30 to 40 seconds. Smoke kept coming until we landed though.'
'The staff were rushing up and down the aisles and were generally excellent. I'm just really frustrated by the response of all other staff.
'The pilot, who was in charge, didn't speak to us for 45 minutes. I was disgusted.'
Cabin crew tried to keep passengers calm by explaining that the plane could function on three of its four engines.
The ordeal, which happened on 8 August, continued until the following morning when they finally landed at 6.45am.
Mrs Ludi said: 'There was still black smoke billowing when we landed at Heathrow.
'Six fire engines met us as we landed. By that time I was a nervous wreck.'
Mrs Ludi said the experience has made her terrified of flying, and she only managed to get on the flight home to Cape Town 'to get back for our little girl'. She was also unhappy about the response she's had from BA, who she says, said it would take up to six weeks for someone to get back to her after she'd made several calls.
A BA spokeswoman said: 'The aircraft continued on its flight and landed normally at London Heathrow after its 12-hour flight as planned.
'We apologise to any customers who were concerned about the situation.
'We have responded to Ms Ludi to explain what happened, and to reassure her that passenger safety and security is of paramount importance to the airline.
'We take customer feedback very seriously and respond to all correspondence received.'
On the engine surge, she said: 'This happens when there's a disturbance to the normal air flow through the engine.
'This surge can produce sparks or a flame and is comparable to a car back firing.'
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