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BNPS.co.uk (01202 558833)<br />
Pic: PhilipDouetil/BNPS<br />
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Barry Douetil's log book.  <br />
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The remarkable story of how a free-falling RAF pilot was saved when the beam of a searchlight enabled him to locate his parachute has emerged for the first time.<br />
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Squadron Leader Barry Douetil plunged out of his blazing Lancaster bomber at 20,000ft and was horrified when he realised his parachute wasn't strapped to his body.<br />
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It was only when he hurtled for a split second through the bright beam of the German searchlight that he spotted it was on the end of a strap 10ft above him.<br />
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While still falling through the air in the dark, the 21-year-old managed to rein the cord in until he was able to put the parachute on and pull the release cord in the nick of time.<br />
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He landed heavily 10 seconds later in a frozen field but escaped the 1944 near-death experience with just a dislocated shoulder.