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Liver rescued from burning plane

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Page last updated: 30th Nov 2010 - 02:38 PM

Last weekend, Birmingham Airport was the scene of a dramatic rescue, after a Cessna light aeroplane crashed on the runway, trapping two people and their invaluable cargo – a human liver – inside. The organ was being ferried between Belfast and Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham, when the aircraft went down.

Whilst the reason for the accident is not yet known, ‘foggy conditions’ have been cited as a contributor, if not the outright cause of the crash. Bosses at Birmingham immediately suspended all flights from the airport, causing more than 80 delays, and halting traffic on local roads.

Emergency services in the Midlands reported that a 58-year-old man, the Cessna’s pilot, was seriously injured in the crash, whilst his passenger, a younger man, sustained flash burns and a spinal injury. Remarkably, the hardy liver was unharmed, even after the plane’s wreckage caught fire.

The liver, an extremely important organ for human beings, serves to detoxify the body, and create chemicals needed in other parts of the anatomy. The liver is also the only internal organ capable of regeneration, able to repair itself even if 75% of its mass has been removed.

An air ambulance pilot who located and severed the burning Cessna’s fuel supply was applauded by officials, as his actions prevented the plane from exploding, and aided rescue teams in freeing the wounded men. Local fire commander, Jim Sinnott, praised rescue services’ “rapid and aggressive fire-fighting tactics.”

Later, the liver was successfully transplanted into a patient at Queen Elizabeth Hospital. Simon Bramhall, the surgeon who performed the operation, said that the organ worked “straight away,” despite its ordeal. Doctors note that the recipient faced almost certain death without a new liver.

Comments - 1


1. Mr Andrew Clarkson

3rd Mar 2011 - 09:42 PM

Can someone please tell me and everyone else what's happening regarding this so called runaway extension that's supposed to be built that will help and allow for long haul flights from the airport from 2012 when it's supposed to be completed, it all seems to have gone rather quiet all of a sudden without any mention, and when any construction will start and be completed next year. I look forward to hearing from you soon with a good reply and explanation as the airports chief executive recently stated on midlands today that the airport could handle up to 18 million plus passengers, I would like to know when thisi will happen, plus also Birmingham airport at present does not allow all other carriers into the airport so where are all these extra millions of passengers going to appear from.

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