Plane Aborted First Takeoff, Returned For Maintenance
ANN REALTIME REPORTING
08.20.08 2130 EDT: Reports from the scene of what
appears to be one of the worst aviation disasters to
strike Spain paint a gruesome picture... as government
officials now say at 153 passengers onboard a Spanair airliner
were lost when the plane departed the runway on takeoff from Madrid
Spanair, a low-cost airline owned by Scandinavia's SAS,
confirmed to Bloomberg 162 passengers, six crewmembers and four
nonrev employees were onboard the heavily-loaded MD-82. CNN
reported at least 26 survivors have been transported to area
hospitals, though that total now appears to have been
The accident aircraft was 15 years old, and had its last heavy
maintenance check performed in January. Though reports from the
accident site continue to be in flux, most state the airliner's
left engine caught fire as the plane sped down the runway.
ANN will continue to update this story throughout the day.
Wednesday's accident is the first fatal crash of a civilian
airliner in Spain in 23 years.
1130 EDT: Authorities
say at least 45 passengers were lost Wednesday when a Spanair MD-82
overran the runway on takeoff from Madrid Barajas International
Witness reports to CNN indicate Flight 5022 to Las Palmas in the
Canary Islands suffered an unknown explosion during takeoff, and
skidded off Runway 36R. Thick smoke still poured from the wreckage
one hour after the crash.
Local media states the aircraft had aborted a previous takeoff
attempt, and returned to the gate for maintenance. The flight then
departed, about one hour past its scheduled time.
Scandinavian flag carrier SAS, which owns Spanair, confirmed the
"Spanair regrets to confirm that its flight number JK 5022 from
Madrid to Las Palmas de Gran Canarias was involved in an accident
at Madrid, at 14.45 hours local time today," the airline said in a
statement. "Spanair is doing everything possible to assist the
Spanish authorities at this difficult time. Spanair will provide
further information as soon as it becomes available."
The Associated Press quotes Spanish emergency ministers stating
at least 20 of the reported 166 passengers and crew onboard were
killed, and 57 were injured.
"It is a certain catastrophe," one unnamed official with SAMUR,
Madrid's emergency response force, told the AP.
The flight was operating as a codeshare for Lufthansa.
ANN will update this story as more information becomes