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Many dead in Madrid plane crash Wednesday, 20 August, 2008

Posted by Farbod in News.
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BBC NEWS | Europe | Many dead in Madrid plane crash.

Smoke rising from the airport in Madrid

At least 100 people have been killed after a passenger plane swerved off the runway at Madrid’s Barajas airport, Spanish officials say.

Many others were hurt when the Spanair plane bound for the Canary Islands left the runway with 172 people on board.

There were reports of a fire in the left engine during take-off. TV footage showed smoke billowing from the craft.

Helicopters were called in to dump water on to the plane, and dozens of ambulances went to the scene.

The exact number of casualties is still unknown, with several reports suggesting just 26 people survived the crash, which happened at about 1430 local time (1230 GMT).

map

Officials confirmed to the BBC and Spanish news agency Efe that the death toll had passed 100.

The BBC’s Steve Kingstone, in Madrid, says planes have begun to take off from the airport, but a grim line of emergency vehicles obscured the view of the crash scene.

Earlier, BBC journalist Stephanie McGovern, who is at the airport, said she had seen more than 70 ambulances leaving the scene.

Spanish journalist Manuel Moleno, who was near the area when the accident happened, said the plane appeared to have “crashed into pieces”.

“We heard a big crash. So we stopped and we saw a lot of smoke,” he said.

Mr Moleno said he had seen as many as 20 people walking away from the wreckage.

The plane, which was destined for Las Palmas in the Canary Islands, came down during or shortly after take-off from Terminal Four at Barajas.

TV footage showed that the plane had come to rest in fields near the airport.

Spanair issued a statement saying that flight number JK 5022 had been involved in an accident at 1445 local time. The airline’s parent company, Scandinavian firm SAS, later said the accident happened at 1423.

According to Spain’s airport authority, Aena, the plane had been due to take off at 1300 local time.

No details of the nationalities of the passengers on board have yet been released.

But the plane was a codeshare flight with German airline Lufthansa, which said it was investigating whether German passengers were on the flight.

Map and satellite image of Madrid airport, plus MD82 graphic

Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Zapatero was on his way to the scene after cutting short his holiday, his office said.

The aircraft was a MD82, a plane commonly used on short trips around Europe, aviation expert Chris Yates told the BBC.

He said Spanair, a subsidiary of Scandinavian carrier SAS, had a very good safety record. Reports say it was the first crash at Barajas airport, some 13km (8 miles) from central Madrid, since 1983.

People concerned for relatives or friends who might have been on board the plane can call Spanair’s helpline on +34 800 400 200 (from inside Spain only).

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Comments»

1. katia lekarski - Thursday, 21 August, 2008

why is it that when there is a technical problem,companies try to fix it quickly and risk the life of so many people without us ,passengers,being aware and having the choice to leave the aircraft! our lives dont cost the low-coast airfaire of 89 euros!as a passenger,if the plane is not 100%,i do not wish to take off and being locked in a “maybe arriving machine”
how can we leave our lives in between the hands of pilots that make the wrong decision of still taking off!its all about money,NOT LOOSING TIME,TIME COST MONEY.we all know that.i wish we were more informed as passengers.sometimes i fell like being part of cow heard being transported.shame on those companies and the whole flying business.i feel so sorry for the families of those passengers.


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