Over one hundred die in Madrid plane crash

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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

File:Columnas de humo del accidente aéreo de Madrid-Barajas (2008).jpg

Smoke from the fire caused by the crash
Image: 20 Minutos.
(Image missing from Commons: image; log)
Location of the crash
Image: OpenStreetMap.

A passenger plane leaving from Madrid - Barajas Airport has crashed during take-off. 153 fatalities and 19 injuries have been reported amongst those who were on the aircraft. Flight JK5022, operated by Spanair, was destined for Gran Canaria in the Canary Islands, when it skidded off the end of the runway in good weather at 14:45 local time. An engine of the aircraft is reported to have caught fire during the attempted takeoff.

A spokesman for S.A.M.U.R. stated that there were only 26 survivors. The plane at the time was carrying 173 people. 7 survivors later died en route to hospital.

The cause is unknown, but reports indicate that the left engine of the MD-82 was on fire during take-off. The United States agency National Transportation Safety Board said it was sending a team to help with the investigation and reported that "the aircraft broke apart and a post-crash fire ensued."

"Helicopters are continually heading to the scene, dropping lots of water... The smoke has really died down now, things seem to be more under control," said Stephanie McGovern from the BBC, commenting on the incident. Manuel Moleno, who witnessed the crash, said that "I've seen around 50 ambulances. They're still coming and going, so there may still be more casualties."

"SAS is doing everything possible to help passengers and next-of-kin and to assist Spanish authorities at this difficult time," read a statement from SAS Group, the Stockholm-based company that owns Spanair. "SAS will provide further information as soon as it becomes available."

"Boeing sends its deep condolences to the families and friends of those lost in the crash of Spanair flight 5022, and its wishes for the quick recovery of the injured," said manufacturer Boeing which merged with McDonnell Douglas in 1997. "We stand ready to provide technical assistance."


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