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Media legendThe crash of the Kegworth aircraft occurred on January 8, 1989

When he was finally rescued from the wreck of a British Midland plane after the Kegworth Air Catastrophe, Stephen McCoy was unlikely to survive.

His injuries were so severe that he did not regain consciousness until 18 months old and spent the next three years in the hospital.


Stephen never lost hope of being able to stop using his wheelchair someday

The accident occurred on January 8, 1989, after a Boeing 737 had a left engine problem shortly after leaving Heathrow for Aldergrove, Belfast's main airport.

The pilots cut the wrong engine and the plane crashed on the M1 in Leicestershire, in the immediate vicinity of the East Midlands airport, where they were trying to land a landing. emergency.

Forty-seven of the 126 people on board were killed; 74 were seriously injured.

"Massive tooth in the head"

At the time, Stephen was a 16-year-old boxing champion and a big fan of punk music with spiky hair and faded hair.


Stephen McCoy had been a promising boxer

When he finally got out of the hospital, his sister Yvonne stopped working to become his full-time health care aide at home in Toomebridge.

Thirty years later, Yvonne remembers that he had spent hours after the accident before knowing that his brother was still alive.

"The show I saw, I do not wish anyone, he did not know anyone, he was in a coma, he was thin, lifeless, with a huge bump in his head.

"I was with him the day he came out of coma and it was the best day of my life."


A fan blade shattered in the left engine of the British Midland Flight 92, disrupting the air conditioning and filling the cockpit with smoke.

Rose McCoy, Stephen's mother, remembers the slow process.

"He started coming out of a coma and he would have stood up and looked all around him, but if you did (she puts her hand in front of her face), he would not have blinked, he would not know you were there, he was just trying to get out of the coma, "she said.

Stephen suffered brain damage and paralysis from one side.

Brendan Heffron, a teenage friend of Stephen, said the situation had upset both teenagers.

They shared a passion for punk and Brendan always stays in touch with his friend.

"It's sad to think that he could be married and should have children," Brendan said.

"The rest of us have basically assimilated our trades, our businesses and raised our families.

Stephen was pretty much the same. He shared the same ideas as us. "

Always in flight

Yvonne said that despite the accident, Stephen was still going to Lourdes every year.


Yvonne McCoy says that her brother never lost hope of being able to walk again

"Stephen's faith is extremely strong, his faith has grown since the accident and he makes a regular trip every year in July to Lourdes – it will be Stephen's year highlight.

"Every year he goes to Lourdes, he has to fly, but Stephen is very brave.

"He says" this plane is not going to crush "because he puts his faith in God.

"He is not afraid."

Stephen said, "I am able to pray and meet people and friends I have met and hear well, which gives me great hope to hurry out of this chair. for real."

Stephen still uses a wheelchair, but has recently been trying to walk, using an exoskeleton to keep it straight and propel it forward.

Physio Kim Gregg, who helps Stephen, described him as "the ideal patient".

"He has a taste for life and a taste for improvement," Kim said.

Despite the setbacks of more than three decades, the family has never lost hope in its recovery.

"I have always had hope, which is incredible, because the setbacks that Stephen has suffered have never lost hope," she said.

"But you must always have hope, if you have no hope, you have nothing."

Stephen McCoy My fight for life is on BBC One NI at 22:40 GMT on Monday, January 7th.