AN air stewardess was recovering in hospital last night after plunging 15ft from the back door of an aircraft shortly before it was due to take off.

Danielle Henry, 21, fell from the Boeing 757-200 when she tried to close the door as it prepared to leave Corfu for Newcastle on Tuesday.

Colleagues helped administer oxygen before she was taken to Corfu General Hospital.

She was flown back to Britain yesterday, and is being treated at Newcastle General Hospital.

It is understood Ms Henry, of Kingston Park, Newcastle, suffered a broken arm and ankle and a suspected broken pelvis.

Thomas Cook Airlines spokesman Shaun Robinson said an investigation had been launched by the airline and the Air Accident Investigation Branch.

He said: "At some point during the command for the doors to be closed a crew member fell from the rear of the aircraft.

"We are trying to find out exactly what happened and how she came to fall.

"We will leave no stone unturned in our inquiries into the circumstances of the accident, but at the moment our priority is the wellbeing of the cabin crew member."

Thomas Cook Airlines chartered an air ambulance to fly the stewardess home yesterday morning.

Speaking from her home, Danielle's mother, Pauline Henry, said yesterday: "I am so relieved to have Danielle in Newcastle. She hated her time spent in the Corfu hospital and was in great pain.

"She may need two operations to correct her injuries."