Stuck halfway out of a plane’s cockpit
In June of 1990, an improperly secured window on British Airways Flight 5390 failed, causing a massive blowout at 17,000 feet.
For the most part the flight was routine, until there was a massive bang and the left windscreen blew away, with the resulting rapid decompression sucking captain Tim Lancaster out of the aircraft. His upper torso was outside, but his legs were trapped in the flight controls. With debris and wind flying around the cockpit, the flight deck was getting severely damaged.
Luckily (as this was before 9/11), a flight attendant was able to enter cockpit and grab Lancaster’s legs, while the copilot began emergency descent. He tried to reach emergency services, but the radio console was damaged. They figured that Lancaster was dead as he was not moving, plus the chilling temperatures, thin atmosphere, and the 345 mph winds battering him around like a rag doll would render anyone fatally unconscious in a matter of minutes. Still they held on to him, with great difficulty, to make sure he didn’t fly into the engines.
20 minutes later, they landed at Southampton Airport and Lancaster was removed from the plane, only to be found alive. He was suffering from frostbite, bruising and shock, and had fractures to his right arm, left thumb and right wrist. Other than that he was fine, and flying again 5 months later.