ITV Im A Celebritys Frankie Dettori to face biggest challenge after horror plane crash

He's one of this year's rumoured I'm A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here! contestants, but Frankie Dettori could find the Bushtucker Trials even more difficult than others.

The retired jockey, 52, has suffered from claustrophobia following a horror plane crash back in 2000, so there's no doubt that entering the jungle may prove tough for him.

Frankie miraculously survived the disaster, which claimed the life of pilot Patrick Mackey, on the Newmarket racecourse over two decades ago, but it had a lasting impact on him.

“I’ll fly in jumbo jets and I’ll fly in helicopters, but light aircraft? Not a chance. I developed claustrophobia too," he previously said, as reported by the Mirror.

Frankie was due to travel to Goodwood for another race meeting on that same day alongside Irish rider Ray Cochrane in the Piper Seneca plane.

In his 2021 memoir, titled Leap Of Faith, he recalled the moment he knew something "definitely" wasn't right after he heard a loud noise and saw "smoke coming out of the right engine" as the aircraft struggled to cope with bad weather.

Frankie said: “I can see the first flickering of flames, and the propeller looks as though it’s damaged. That bang we heard earlier must have been hitting the ground as the plane lurched to the side. We tilt suddenly, hard over to the right at a crazy angle, the ground seeming almost off to my side rather than directly beneath. I brace myself in my seat, clinging to the armrests.

“Patrick’s fighting at the controls to keep us airborne, but it’s mission impossible. We’re being pulled down to the ground. We’re going to die. We’re going to die. We’re going to die."

The plane crashed into a mound of earth at the track called the Devil’s Dyke, and thankfully Frankie was saved by the "insanely brave" Ray, who managed to pull him from the burning wreckage. Frankie was then taken to hospital, where they operated on his leg to "take some skin to do plastic surgery on my face”.

Sadly pilot Patrick, who was age 52 at the time, did not survive the crash. Frankie has spoke of the impact of the crash and Patrick's death on him mentally, saying: “I can’t shake the feeling I’ve had pretty much since the crash, and certainly since the morphine and painkillers wore off: why did he die when I didn’t? He was such a good guy, and 52 is no age to die."

Frankie is one of the celebrities rumoured to be entering the I'm A Celebrity jungle for this year's series, which kicks off on Sunday 19 November on ITV.

Fellow rumoured contestants include Jamie Lynn Spears, Josie Gibson, Marvin Humes, Sam Thompson and Nella Rose.

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