I’m A Celeb Jill Scott’s near-death experience as plane ‘nose-dived’ mid-flight

I'm A Celebrity's Jill Scott once feared she was going to die on a plane full of her fellow Lionesses after the aircraft started to nose-drive, leaving players phoning home in panic to say goodbye to their loved ones.

The former England women's footballer, 35, was on a flight with her teammates during the 2019 Women's World Cup in France when the pilot was forced to take drastic action after the jet hit an air pocket, which resulted in players and crew members being sick.

Jill was sitting next to current England captain Leah Williamson, because the star had taken several magazines on to distract the I'm A Celebrity contestant from her fear of flying, and she is "forever grateful" to the skipper for comforting her during the ordeal.

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She said: "We nearly went down. It was really bad. It was the World Cup in France.

"Even the pilot said it had never happened to him in 30 years. Before anyone says it was an air pocket, or a weather pocket, it was something worse.

"All of our heads went up. At the time we were listening to music and were talking about a James Morrison song [Love is Hard]. Out of 3,000 songs [on Leah's iPod, which was on shuffle] that song actually came on next, then that plane thing happened and I thought, 'This is meant to be, our lives are over.'

"But to be fair, when that happened to the plane, I actually didn't get scared because I was listening to the song. Everyone was texting home and ringing home on the plane. It was so bad. We were just like, [singing] 'Love is hard, if it was easy it wouldn't mean nothing.'

"People were being sick. We had a lot of flights that trip but after that one of the staff members didn't fly [again]. I am forever grateful to Leah for that moment."

Leah explained: "Jill always sits next to [England goalkeeper] Carly [Telford], but Carly had basically had enough of Jill on these flights. This was like our fifth flight. I had magazines in my bag and I knew Jill was nervous, so I would give them to her [for the crosswords].

"As we were walking onto the flight, the plane was tiny, so Carly was basically saying, 'She's going to be a nightmare.' So I was like, 'I've got these, I'll sit and do them with her.'

"The plane just dropped mid-air. It hit this air pocket. The pilot had to get out of it, so he dropped the plane.

"Someone actually screamed at the back of the plane, 'We're going down!'

"The air hostess dropped into the seat and the trolley was free for all. I was totally fine and was like, 'Oh well, what will be will be.' "

Jill claims her fear of flying developed after she once sat next to Lioness Farrah Williams, 38, on a flight.

She said: "Can I just say with my fear of flying, I didn't have it for 12 years and then I had to sit next to [Lioness] Farrah Williams. She gave me my fear of flying. I've got a fear of flying now, it's really bad."

But Jill managed to do the 24-hour flight to Australia, and since arriving in camp she has been cracking plenty of jokes, and even made a quip at former Health Secretary Matt Hancock's expense after he was voted camp leader.

As the MP – suspended by the Tory Party for taking part in the ITV show – was setting out a list of "rules" to follow, Jill made a jibe about Mr Hancock, 44, breaking his own social distancing guidelines during the coronavirus pandemic, when he was caught kissing his former aide and now-girlfriend Gina Coladangelo despite being married.

She asked him: "Just to be clear, are these guidelines or rules?"

But the retired footballer has been known to crack one too many jokes to overcompensate when she is going through a "bad time".

She said: "When people are struggling, who have similar personality traits to me, I think we go too much the other way. I've noticed it myself where maybe I'm having a bad time and I'll go into football and I'll try to tell too many jokes and hide it too much sometimes.

"We've done quite a lot of work at football around getting to know personalities, because it's not always obvious. But I'm not saying I'm having bad days all the time. You do try to hide it a bit because you're meant to be the one who is always having laughs."

Jill was awarded an MBE in the 2020 New Year Honours for services to women's football, but she had to pick it up from the post office after the investiture ceremony was cancelled due to Covid.

She said: "I collected mine from the post office, because Covid happened and I couldn't go to the presentation at Buckingham Palace. I was like, 'Where's my MBE?' I just had a postage slip to go and pick it up. I thought it was a hoody I was waiting for, and there was my MBE. I didn't even have to sign for it."

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