SkyNet - Special Report

Date: 8th January 1989
Location: East Midlands, UK
Carrier: British Midland
Aircraft: B-737
Registration: G-OBME
Flight No: BD092
Passengers and Crew: 126
Fatalities: 47
Phase of flight: Climbing
Reason for crash: Improper engine shutdown

This is not an accident investigation report.

Report: Full Accident Investigation Report - Click Here

Flight 092 took off from London at 19.52h for a flight to Belfast. Some 13 minutes later, while climbing through FL283, moderate to severe vibration was felt, accompanied by a smell of fire in the cockpit. The outer panel of one of the No.1 engine fanblades detached, causing compressor stalls and airframe shuddering. Believing the No. 2 engine had been damaged the crew throttled it back. The shuddering stopped and the No 2 engine was shut down. The crew then decided to divert to East Midlands. The flight was cleared for a Runway 27 approach. At 900ft, 2.4nm from the runway, no.1 engine power suddenly decreased. As the speed fell below 125kts, the stick shaker activated and the aircraft struck trees at a speed of 115kts. The aircraft continued and impacted the western carriageway of the M1 motorway 10m lower and came to rest against the wooded embankment, 900m short of the runway. PROBABLE CAUSE: "The operating crew shut down the No 2 engine after a fan blade had fractured in the No 1 engine. This engine subsequently suffered a major thrust loss due to secondary fan damage after power had been increased during the final approach to land." (AAIB Accident Report 4/90)

At 20.24 hrs G-OBME struck the ground to the east of the M1 motorway at Kegworth, slid across the road and impacted with the western embankment at between 80 and 100 knots.

The accident investigation report states the following about the location of passengers surviving the incident:

2.6 Survival Aspects 

It was apparent from an early stage of the investigation that the first impact of
G-OBME, at the top of the M1 eastern embankment, caused much less damage to 
the airframe than the second impact, at the edge of the western carriageway. 
This was confirmed by the ground impact marks, by the KRASH analysis and by 
the items of wreckage which became detached before the second impact. 
It was thus the second impact which caused both of the major fuselage failures 
and the separation of the engines. 

The lack of any indication of the velocity between the impacts from either 
the FDR or the cockpit instrumentation prevented an accurate determination 
of this velocity, but analysis of the trajectory gave a velocity of between 
80 and 100 kts at the second, and major, impact (paragraph 

The injuries suffered by the passengers sitting in seat rows 10-17 and 25-27
(paragraph 1.13) clearly show both the advantages of being retained in a fixed 
seat and the limitations of sitting in a forward facing seat restrained only 
by a lap belt. Virtually all the passengers suffered from severe bruising under 
the lap belt and five passengers sustained iliac fractures as a
direct result of lap belt loading.
Damage to Aircraft


G-OBME suffered severe impact damage and the fuselage broke into 3 main sections. 
The nose section travelled the greatest distance up the western embankment of 
the M1, the centre-section remained upright with the wings attached and the
tail-section buckled over, and to the right of, that section of fuselage just 
aft of the wing. 

During the impact the fuselage broke into 3 main sections, with 4 distinct 
areas of damage (paragraphs & 7): the area forward of the wing 
(rows 1-9), where the floor structure was completely disrupted and all the 
seats became detached, the centre section (rows 10-17) where the majority 
of the seats remained attached to the floor; and the area behind the wing 
(rows 18-23L/24R), where the floor failed and the fuselage was disrupted, both 
circumferentially and from above, by the overturning tail section, in which seat 
rows 24L/25R-27 remained attached.

Details of the distribution of the Injury extent (ISS) are shown in the diagram below from Appendix 5, of the accident investigation report.


In the forward area where the seats became detached, passengers were trapped by the seats moving forward, compressing their occupants. A number of passengers in this area sustained severe crushing injuries. Following the impact the majority of the passengers were trapped, due to injury, seat failure or debris from overhead. Only 14 of the passengers were able to make a significant contribution to effecting their own escape. Both pilots were trapped, as was one of the two stewardesses in the front flight attendant seat. One stewardess, seated on the rear flight attendant double seat, reported that she had been injured and trapped by a food service cart. The other occupant of this seat was released by the steward, who had been seated on the single seat adjacent to the right rear door.

"...the most severe injuries occurred in rows 6-8 in the region of the forward 
fuselage break, with serious injuries occurring in the whole of the area forward 
of the wing where the floor structure failed. Further serious and fatal injuries 
occurred in the region of the failure of the rear fuselage and floor, and in the 
area where the tail structure had swung over, and into, the rear fuselage. 
The least injuries occurred in the rear of the aircraft." 
Two passengers recalled the following day:
"We seem to be struck at an angle of 45 degrees"

"As we were coming down to the ground there were various thudding noises 
and I remember two very hefty thuds then the tailpiece appeared to break 
away and topple over."
This second passenger was seated in the tail section.

Report complied by David Lisk (c)1997
Return to Airline Disasters 1920 - 1997 Database
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