Fuel leakage At 35000 Feet High

A US airman has been credited with saving the lives of more than 300 passengers - after he spotted a fuel leak at 35,000ft.

Staff Sgt Bartek Bachleda was a passenger on a flight from Chicago to Narita, Japan, when he saw the leak from a window.

He said he first noticed what looked like a leak during take-off, and kept an eye on it to be sure what he was seeing.

Staff Sgt Bachleda, whose job is to refuel airplanes, eventually realised it was an emergency - but when he raised the alarm he was initially ignored.

Sergeant Bachleda then filmed the leak on video before showing it to the flight attendant and telling her: "Ma'am, it's an emergency."

"She was completely serious and was no longer handing out drinks," he said. "I told her you need to inform your captain before we go oceanic."

The captain came from the cockpit to see the leak for himself and view the video footage. Sergeant Bachleda said the crew had been trying to figure out how the aircraft was losing 6,000lbs of fuel an hour.

The captain made a mid-air announcement the flight would be diverted back to Chicago, but then changed it to San Francisco so passengers could catch the only existing flight to Narita airport.

"When we got off the airplane everyone was thanking us," said the sergeant.

The captain said the flight would have never made it to Japan if Sergeant Bachleda had not raised the alarm.

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