Donor organ plane crash closes airport

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The Independent Online

Birmingham Airport was closed yesterday after a light aircraft carrying a liver for an organ donor transplant crashed in fog.

Witnesses reported that the private twin-engined Cessna jet burst into a fireball after flying clear of the runway as it came in to land at around 3:30pm. The flames were brought under control by an air ambulance pilot who entered the wreckage to stop the flow of fuel.

Two men were taken to hospital. One of them, a 58-year-old man thought to be the plane's pilot, was critically injured.

The liver was recovered and taken by a police motorcyclist to the city's Queen Elizabeth Hospital. Medical staff later conducted an assessment of the organ and gave the go-ahead for it to be used in an operation last night.

One airport worker told a local radio station: "There was a horrible noise and it burst into flames with a trail of flames behind it.

"When I ran over to the plane all I could see was the tail and the rest was in flames. I saw two people running away."

The airport remained closed this morning, and is expected to be re-opened later today.

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