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Kegworth rescuer relives the night Withernsea lifeboat crew helped save 79 lives

Emergency services by the shattered fuselage of the British Midland plane Credit: PA

On the eve of the Kegworth air disaster, a former lifeboatman from East Yorkshire has been reliving the most horrific day of his life.

Forty seven people died and 74 were seriously injured, after a British Midland Boeing 737 crashed on the embankment of the M1 near Kegworth in Leicestershire on January 8th 1989.

Those first of the scene spoke at the time of "complete devastation with seats and bodies piled up everywhere".

Among them, Barrie Brigham, who, along with the rest of Withernsea's lifeboat crew, was among the first to help free survivors from the wreckage . Thirty years on, he is still haunted by what he saw.

It's something you'll never ever forget when you see 47 people lined up dead. You don't forget anything like that too easily. Even now all these years later it stimulates the memory of that night and it all just comes back. You just can't forget it. It's very vivid as well.

– Kegworth rescuer Barrie Brigham
An aerial view of the wrecked Boeing 737 Credit: PA

Eight members of the Withernsea lifeboat crew were heading North along the M1 on their way home from the London Boat Show, when they witnessed the crash .

Wreckage and bodies littered the road. And yet, at great risk to themselves, the lifeboat men's instinct to save lives - kicked in.

Used to saving lives at sea the crew set about pulling passengers and crew - dead or alive - from the wreckage with no regard for their own safety. Seventy nine people, including the two pilots, survived.

Tomorrow (January 8th) a memorial service will be held to mark 30 years since the disaster, and pay tribute to those who lost their lives, and those whose lives it changed forever.

Michael Billington met up with Barrie and hears how he and the rest of the crew are remembered as heroes back at the Withernsea station.