Spanair mechanics to be questioned under criminal suspicion over Flight 5022 crash

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Thursday, October 16, 2008

Three Spanair mechanics—including the head of maintenance for the airline in the area—are to be questioned under suspicion of manslaughter in connection to the Spanair Flight 5022 disaster. The other two workers checked the plane, a MD-82, before the failed takeoff at Madrid that killed 154 and left only eighteen survivors.

Map showing crash location.

The aircraft, destined for the Canary Islands, failed to maintain altitude after takeoff from Barajas Airport.

A preliminary report concluded that the wing flaps were not correctly set for takeoff, and an alarm that should have sounded to alert the flight crew to this problem failed. No reasons have been determined for these occurrences.

A judge has now summoned the head of Spanair maintenance at Barajas and the two mechanics who checked the aircraft. They were summoned by Juan Javier Perez of Madrid’s Superior Court, who heads the judicial enquiry into the accident.

Aircraft manufacturer McDonnell Douglas—which has since merged with Boeing—has suggested that operators should check the wing flaps before every flight. However, Spanair only checked them every morning and after each change in flight crew. The recommendation came after the 1987 crash of Northwest Flight 255.

So far, no one has been charged with a crime.

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