The pilot of a British Airways flight which caught fire in dramatic fashion on the tarmac at Las Vegas airport says he is “finished flying”.
Captain Chris Henkey was applauded by passengers for averting a potential disaster after an engine of the Boeing 777-200 burst into flames, before take-off on the flight from Las Vegas to London Gatwick, forcing the evacuation of 157 passengers and 13 crew. About 14 people were taken to hospital with minor injuries.
Aviation experts said Henkey delivered a textbook response.
Henkey, 63, a former publican, told NBC News he was “unlikely” to make his final flight, which would have taken him to Barbados to join his daughter on holiday.
Henkey has four decades of flying experience with British Airways.
“I was supposed to go to Barbados on Saturday and come back next Tuesday and that would be it,” Henkey said. “It’s safe to say I’m finished flying.”
According to The Guardian his fiancee, Lenka Nevolna said:“He’s a hero. He’s a great man with a warm heart, and generosity, and I’m very proud of him.”
She said she was “very shocked” by what had happened and added: “I’m glad that no one’s hurt and everything is going to be fine.”
The fire, which started in the left engine, was swiftly put out by about 50 firefighters.
The charred remains of the aircraft are still at at McCarran International Airport with investigators sent in to look at why the suppression system, designed to prevent engine fires, apparently failed.