Monday 26 September 2016

'This is the first time he's faced anything like this' - Girlfriend of Irish co-pilot who helped save 172 lives from burning plane praises his heroic actions

Published 11/09/2015 | 08:01

The girlfriend of the Irish co-pilot who was instrumental in saving hundreds of lives from a burning plane said his heroic actions just confirm the "cool, calm and collected" person she always knew he was.

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Meath man Ian Callaghan and veteran pilot Chris Henkey were forced to put their emergency training into practise when the British Airways plane they were flying caught fire on a Las Vegas runway earlier this week. 

Their quick thinking and skill in securing the safety of the lives of all 172 passengers on board flight BA2276 have been applauded.

Claire Moore, who has been dating 27-year-old Ian for almost 12 months, told the Irish Mirror that her boyfriend is "the most cool and calm person anyway".

Claire Moore and Ian Callaghan
Claire Moore and Ian Callaghan
Claire Moore and Ian Callaghan

"He really is trained so well for this sort of thing but that was the first time in his 10 years as a pilot that he's faced anything like this.

Read more: Quick-thinking Irish pilot was instrumental in saving 172 passengers on board BA plane which caught fire

The BA plane which caught fire in Vegas.
The BA plane which caught fire in Vegas.
Damage is visible on the British Airways Boeing 777-200 at McCarran International Airport (AP)
British Airways plane catches fire on runway at Las Vegas airport
A British Airways plane can be seen in flame at LAS airport Las Vegas Photo: Twitter @banjo

When the emergency occurred on a runway at McCarran Airport, Ian calmly communicated the issue to the control tower and - with the help of his colleague - aborted take-off.

Claire said that despite her faith in her "confident and competent" boyfriend, it was still "weird" hearing his voice on the recording to air traffic control.

Ian Callaghan and Claire Moore
Ian Callaghan and Claire Moore

"I didn't know anything until I woke up on Wednesday morning and saw a text from him sayng he was OK and not to worry. Then I went on Twitter and realised the seriousness of what had happened," she said. 

Ian is currently in Las Vegas as he deals with protocol following the freak plane fire. But Claire can't wait to get him home.

"Now I just can't wait to get him back on Irish soil," she said.

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