Plane crash survivor ‘cooked at gas mask 5’ in cockpit inferno before wing jump
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A British pilot who survived a horrific plane crash while training in Florida has revealed he was 'cooked alive' in the cockpit of the doomed aircraft.
In 2007 special forces soldier Jamie Hull took a break from training to attend a pilot school in Florida.
However while on a routine solo training flight disaster struck and he saw flames licking their way around his aircraft.
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Speaking on the Andy Rowe Show podcast, Jamie admits that at this moment as he watched his aircraft burn 1000ft in the sky, he panicked.
He said: "I saw a thin streak of yellow flame out my canopy window.
"It was clear to me the engine was on fire. I had to find out a plan of what I was going to do. I won’t deny it, I had some degree of panic."
With the plane now unable to function, Jamie knew he had to get to the ground fast, however this threw up a whole new problem.
He continued: "I always remembered the instructors saying to me: ‘If you have a problem, fly the damn aircraft.’
"As I’m descending into the wind towards the runway, the flames breached the cockpit. I looked down and saw my feet were on fire, they were burning.
"At first, you’re not really feeling it, but by the time I had got to 500 feet above the ground, the fire was about mid-chest.
"I’m suddenly about gas mark 5 in the oven."
Podcast host Andy Rowe interjected: "You’re getting cooked?"
James replied: “Yup suddenly I’m on fire and I’m getting cooked in that tiny 2-meter cockpit."
It was at this point when all hope seemed lost that James' military training kicked in.
He said: "For me then It was like a light bulb moment, I knew what I had to do. I thought back to the emergency protocol and initiated a full shutdown and tried to glide in as best as I could.
"At about 100 feet I opened the canopy door and focused on looking ahead and left and right for hazards.
"I veered away towards a grassy stretch and about 15 feet from the ground I clambered onto the left-wing and jumped off the edge of the wing travelling at about 33 miles an hour."
Lying burned and bruised on the grass while his aircraft burned ahead of him, James' chances of survival weren't great.
But amazingly after spending six months in an induced coma in the US, and a further 18 months in a UK hospital undergoing more than 60 operations, Jamie somehow pulled through.
Speaking to the Mirror, James said: "Quite honestly I shouldn’t be here after what I went through.
"It is miraculous. What I endured, the price I paid for survival was off the charts in terms of suffering and injury and what I went through in those early years.
"I don’t know how my body was able to hold on."
You can find out more about James' experiences here.
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