Centring his turret and opening the doors, Alkemade was greeted by a vision of hell. His parachute was already well alight and the fierce flames seared his exposed face and wrists. His rubber oxygen mask, clamped tight over his mouth and nose began to melt. The immense heat forced Alkemade to close the turret doors again. He was trapped.
Falling through the sky in a burning and abandoned aircraft. 3½ miles above enemy territory. And it was about to get worse. The conflagration devouring the aircraft now breached the rear doors and set the turret’s hydraulic fluid alight. The liquid-fuelled flames spread to Alkemade’s clothing.
“I had the choice of staying with the aircraft or jumping out. If I stayed I would be burned to death – my clothes were already well alight and my face and hands burnt, though at the time I scarcely noticed the pain owing to my high state of excitement...I decided to jump and end it all as quick and clean as I could. I rotated the turret to starboard, and, not even bothering to take off my helmet and intercom, did a back flip out into the night.
Read the rest here.
Hat tip, CDRSalamander