Peter Ridsdale’s memories of the incident taken from Phil Hay’s article in The Athletic in March 2021.
Peter Ridsdale was so close to the blaze that the window next to him melted in a matter of seconds, sticking to his club blazer. “I saw the sparks as we went down the runway,” Ridsdale says. “It didn’t look right at all. Then I saw the explosion. Some of us started shouting to the pilot, ‘Put it down, put it down’, which was a bit of a joke because he was the one who knew what to do. But it was the instinctive reaction of people who were terrified. I think we all feared for our lives.” Ridsdale states: “I can’t give the pilot any higher praise than to say he saved all of our lives. I’ve never had any doubt that without that decision, we’d all be dead.” Ridsdale’s star-struck son had chosen to sit with the players rather than his father and was towards the back of the cabin. “You had the panic of the crash and the worry about whether anyone was injured or worse,” Ridsdale senior says. “But for me, there was also the realisation that my son wasn’t with me. I was up the front so I tried to get to the back of the plane to find him. It turned out that he’d got out without waiting for me.”