Captain Flees Burning Plane, Abandons Passengers

The captain of a Vueling flight fled the aircraft after the cabin started filling with smoke, leaving passengers and crew to fend for themselves. One passenger described the move as a “full Costa Concordia”.

Captain Abandons Aircraft

Passengers say a loud bang was heard from the rear of the plane as it prepared to depart from Barcelona on its way to Birmingham Airport on Saturday. Andrew Benion was putting on his seatbelt when he heard the noise and could smell smoke coming into the cabin.

Captain Fled plane
the Captain ran back into the terminal once the plane caught fire | © Andrew Benion

“All the lights went off, and the emergency lights came on – it was terrifying. Next thing the stewards start to go into melt-down, running up and down the aisle – first, telling everyone to keep belts on, then to tell everyone to take their belts off.”

“One ran into the cockpit to tell the captain. Then as soon as a stewardess opened the front door the captain ran straight off. He was just gone. He was first off the plane.”

Mr Benion says the captain opened the side door and evacuated the plane, leaving passengers and crew to fend for themselves as the plane caught fire.

“He did a full Costa Concordia.”

If it wasn’t bad enough that the captain abandoned the burning plane, most of the cabin crew followed suit:

“Then all his crew ran off after him and LEFT us all. There was only one stewardess left on the plane, and you could see the fear on her face. She started screaming for everyone to get off. The Spanish person next to us translated and said, ‘The plane is on fire.”

Andrew was travelling home to Telford, Shropshire, after celebrating his 50th on a Mediterranean cruise with his wife, Claire. He told The Sun:

“You’ve never seen anything like it. If we weren’t all so frightened it would have been complete comedy.

Waiting Game

Fire engines and Ambulances arrived to put out the flames, and passengers were taken to a glass reception area where they were kept for an hour under police guard. “They were acting as if there was a terrorist attack,” says Benion.

“We could see them spraying the back of the plane, but all the staff refused to talk to us. They left us in there for an hour, then took us to another plane and left us on there for 90 more minutes while it was refuelled.”

Pilot Abandons Plane
Passengers were put under guard whilst a new plane was sourced | © Andrew Benion

According to Mr Benion, passengers were given little information as to what caused the incident on their previous plane.

“A different captain then turned up on the plane and apologised but refused to go into detail. He just said, ‘We apologise for the inconvenience – we’re going to get you back to Birmingham as soon as possible.”

“We eventually took off but obviously, the atmosphere on the plane was shockingly bad”

What are your thoughts on the captain abandoning his plane? Let us know in the comments below!

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Josh McMinn
Josh McMinn
Jr Reporter - Josh is an Jr. Aviation Reporter at Travel Radar covering the latest industry news, developments and passenger experiences. Outside of reporting, Josh is a talented artist and camera operator with experience spanning several industries.


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