Flight BD 092 took off from Heathrow at 7:52pm on January 8 1989 bound for Belfast, with 126 people on board, but was diverted to East Midlands Airport after the pilot reported engine trouble.
The problem was a broken fan blade in the left engine which caused a pounding noise, vibration and smoke.
Confusion about which engine had dropped out led to Captain Kevin Hunt and his co-pilot David McClelland shutting down the right engine, leaving the plane gliding.
The pilot managed to avoid the village of Kegworth but didn’t make it to the runway.
Flight BD 092’s tail bounced off the ground about a quarter of a mile from the beginning of East Midlands Airport runway, before it crashed into the embankment of the northbound carriageway of the M1 motorway.
In an astonishing stroke of luck, no vehicles were travelling on that section of the motorway when the plane came down.
The fuselage broke into three sections on impact, immediately killing more than 30 of the people on board.
AA patrolmen arriving in the scene spoke at the time of “complete devastation with seats and bodies piled up everywhere”.
Firefighters who had been alerted to the mechanical problems were waiting for the flight to land at East Midlands Airport.
When they saw the cloud of smoke, they fought through trees and bushes at the edge of the runway to reach the wreckage.
Today (January 8) a memorial service will be held to mark 30 years since the disaster, and pay tribute to those who lost their lives, and those whose lives it changed forever.