Inntel founder survives dramatic air incident

Jim O'Neill is rescued by the RAF after losing his vision while flying a small plane

Inntel founder Jim O'Neill survives dramatic air incident
Inntel founder Jim O'Neill survives dramatic air incident

Inntel founder Jim O'Neill has praised the RAF following his dramatic rescue when he lost his vision while flying his small plane last week.

O'Neill had a stroke, which blinded him while flying his four-seater plane above Carlisle on a journey to Essex.

A RAF plane from Linton-on-Ouse in North Yorkshire came to his aid after he radioed for help.

It flew alongside O'Neill's plane and guided him to a nearby airport through radio instructions. O'Neill safely landed the plane on his fourth attempt.

The incident was widely reported in the UK press this weekend.

O'Neill was given a medical check by RAF medics and is currently in hospital.

In a statement, Inntel said "doctors are confident some vision will be restored when the swelling on his brain recedes".

O'Neill said: "I should not be alive. I owe my life - and those of dozens of people I could have crash-landed on - to the RAF."

His son and Inntel managing director Douglas O'Neill said: "My family and I cannot thank the RAF enough. The determination that my father showed to survive this incident and to land the plane safely without injury to others mirrors the determination he has shown in all other areas of life."

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