The pilot at the controls of the British Airways aircraft which caught fire as it was about to take off from Las Vegas to Gatwick was on his penultimate flight before retiring.
The captain of the flight was Chris Henkey, 63, who has flown for the airline for 42 years.
A BA spokeswoman said he is a “very experienced” pilot. Henkey has been hailed a hero on the BBC and in national newspapers for his swift and decisive actions to avert a disaster.
All 157 passengers on board, along with 13 crew and three pilots, were evacuated from the Boeing 777, while around 50 firefighters put out the blaze which started in the left engine.
Henkey was able to abort the take-off just nine seconds before the twin-engined aircraft became airborne, the Times reported.
All passengers ands crew were evacuated on emergency chutes within five minutes. Fourteen people were treated in hospital for minor injuries and later released.
The captain’s daughter, Charley, told the Reading Chronicle: “This was supposed to be one of his last flights. I just hope he gets to fly again before he retires so that he ends on a high.”
BA said last night: “We are continuing to care for the 157 customers who were involved in the incident with flight BA2276 from Las Vegas to London Gatwick on Tuesday 8.
“All customers have been provided with hotel accommodation, and our colleagues are helping them with anything further they require.
“Customers who were taken to hospital have all been released following care and treatment.
“The National Transportation Safety Board in the US is conducting an investigation into the incident and we will give them our fullest support.
“The safety of our customers and crew are always our top priorities, and all of our other flights are continuing to operate as normal.”
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