MADRID, Spain – A Spanair MD-82 jetliner bound for the Canary Islands crashed during takeoff Wednesday. An estimated 153 were believed dead. The crash of Spanair flight JK5022 is Spain’s worst aviation accident in almost 25 years.
According to Magdalena Alvarez, Spain’s Development Minister whose department oversees civil aviation in Spain, only 19 people survived the crash at Madrid’s Barajas International Airport. Some of those survivors are still in critical condition.
Spanair has not released the death toll, but a company spokesperson said the plane carried 172 passengers and crew, including two babies and 20 youngsters. No one has said how many children died.
Spanair is a Spanish company but is wholly owned by Scandinavian Airlines. Investigators are searching for clues to help determine what caused the accident. Foul play has reportedly been ruled out according to Alvarez who also said that the crash is being treated as an accident. She confirmed that the plane’s “black box” data recorder and cockpit voice recorder have been recovered.
Flight JK5022 which originated in Barcelona and was bound for the city of Las Palmas was a code-share with Flight LH255 of the German airline Lufthansa.
This plane crash is Spain’s worst air disaster since 1983, when a an Avianca Boeing 747 crashed near Madrid killing 181 people. In 1985, a Boeing 727 operated by Iberia Airlines crashed near Bilbao, Spain killing 148 people.
The deadliest airline disaster in history also occurred in Spain killing 583 people. That 1977 plane crash involved two Boeing 747s which collided on a runway in the Canary Islands.
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