- A Vueling pilot fled his plane after there was an explosion, abandoning the passengers.
- One passenger told The Sun the captain ran off as soon as the flight attendant opened the door.
- Most of his crew followed, while only one flight attendant was left to look after passengers.
A passenger said the pilot of a passenger jet abandoned all those on board after being the first to flee the plane following a loud explosion.
Andrew Benion told The Sun he was aboard a Vueling flight from Barcelona to Birmingham in the UK, when smoke started to fill the aircraft.
The flight attendants started to panic and run down the aisle when the explosion occurred, and one of them warned the captain. As soon as the the front door opened, the captain ran out followed by most of the cabin crew, Benion told the newspaper.
“It was completely shocking. Suddenly there was this huge bang and smell of burning smoke coming from the back of the plane,” he said, adding “all the lights went off and the emergency lights came on – it was terrifying.”
Benion said the crew had not issued clear instructions to passengers and one flight attendants had a “meltdown,” The Sun reported.
“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.”
Most of the cabin crew also fled. Benion said the only flight attendant left “started screaming for everyone to get off. The Spanish person next to us translated and said, ‘the plane is on fire’.”
He concluded: “We couldn’t believe the captain just left us like that – he was running off to safety and we were all sat there like lemmings.”
The passenger compared the pilot’s actions to those of the captain of the Costa Concordia – a cruise ship that struck rocks off the Italian coast in January 2012.
Francesco Schettin initially refused help, but the ship began sinking and he fled in a lifeboat while passengers jumped into the water, with 32 losing their lives. He is now serving a 16-year jail sentence.
Insider contacted International Airlines Group,which owns both Vueling and British Airway, for comment.