Leeds United Air Crash Memories

Bryn Law

Life in 1998

In 1998 Bryn was 28 years old, he was commentating on the evening match for BBC Radio Leeds.

During the day he had been 10-pin bowling with a group of corporate guests and his fellow commentator Norman Hunter.


Bryn recalls: I have very vivid memories of this night, perhaps not unsurprisingly, after all, it’s not every day you find yourself having to contemplate the potential of your own death in the next few minutes.

It all happened very quickly, from seeing the flames, feeling the heat to adopting the brace position – seconds really, I guess.

The longest time was after the plane hit the runway on the way back down and then my recollection is it bounced, and wondering whether it was all going to break up or explode the next time we hit the ground.

When we stopped and the crew shouted for us to get off, I ran as if my life depended on it. Norman, legs battered through a long playing career, did the same. We were in the front row, close to the front door. We were amongst the first off.

I vividly remember looking back and seeing the plane silhouetted by the orange flames from the engine fire. I could see bodies dropping down from the back door, that part of the plane sticking up in the air.

With the headcount done and everyone accounted for, I kicked into reporter mode. I’d trained as a journalist, before becoming a commentator.

My mobile phone was on the plane, new technology in those days. I asked David Wetherall if I could borrow his – a quick call to my wife, waiting to pick me up at Leeds Bradford Airport, she relayed the news to disbelieving staff at the airport, then a call to the BBC newsroom. Thus the story was broken. Within minutes of the crash, I was live on BBC radio.

It was a long night. We were offered the chance to fly back to Leeds. Nobody was up for that. We travelled on coaches. The players and coaching staff went straight to the airport where they were parked, we went to Elland Road. That’s where the media were gathered, we were mobbed as we stepped off the bus. Then we knew, this was a very big story.

I spent the rest of the day doing interviews. Norman and I appeared on BBC Look North from the ground that night.

Afterwards I went home and slept for a long time.


The last 25 years

It didn’t put me off flying. As it turned out, my next flight was to Antigua for my honeymoon 6 months later.

Given my experiences, a pal of mine, Adrian Chiles, got in touch with someone at BA and we got upgraded for the outward flight.

The importance of this was underlined on the return – no upgrade and we took off at night, like Stansted. I was a bit of a mess until we got up in the air. Since then, I’ve flown loads and night flying remains a challenge, just brings back memories I guess.

If you’re ever sitting next to me and start moaning about a bit of turbulence, don’t expect much sympathy.



To John and the crew, I salute you. So many great things have happened since, I have two wonderful daughters Megan and Bethan now making their way in the world and my wife Rachel and I still live in Leeds. In fact, I live in the same village as Lee Worth and David Wetherall, imagine that, 3 survivors, we should have our own annual reunion!

Message to the aircrew