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The date was June 24, 1982, and this extraordinary flight has since gone down in aviation history.
As a new TV documentary investigating the socalled 'Jakarta Incident' makes clear, nothing was quite as one might expect that terrible night.
He was one of the first pilots ever trained on the Boeing 747.
First officer Roger Greaves had been a co-pilot for more than six years, and Barry Townley-Freeman was flight engineer.
First Officer Greaves said: 'Barry and I were just sitting there minding the shop, pitch dark night, of course, and then we started to get these pinpricks of light on the windscreen.' His engineer, Townley-Freeman, asked whether it could be St Elmo's Fire - a natural phenomenon sometimes seen when planes fly through highly charged electric thunderclouds.
Breaking off from her book, Betty Tootell glanced to her left, where she had a clear view of the port wing.
As the jet flew over the Indonesian city of Jakarta, it was cruising at more than 36,000ft and had been in the air for an hour-and-a-half.
Expecting an easy flight, Captain Moody checked his weather radar, which showed smooth sailing for the next 300 miles.
'I went on the flight deck expecting to hear that we had some electrical smoke from the aircraft.' Suddenly, Greaves said: 'Oh my Lord. It's lit up somehow.' The captain was distracted, however: he had just noticed that the engine on his side was illuminated.
Ahead of them, they appeared to be flying into a sheet of brilliant white light, and the temperature within the aircraft began to soar.