APTN/Associated Press
In this photo rendered from video via APTN, emergency vehicles head to the scene of
a plane crash in Madrid, on Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2008. (AP)

Plane Crashes Upon Takeoff in Madrid

August 20, 2008 12:41 PM
by Emily Coakley
Spanair flight JK 5022, bound for the Canary Islands, burst into flames shortly after takeoff in Madrid Tuesday. Approximately 145 people were killed, and 28 people survived.

One of Spain’s Worst Air Disasters


Spanair flight JK 5022 was bound for the Canary Islands, carrying nine crew and 164 passengers to the popular vacation spot. It crashed while taking off from the Madrid airport earlier today. According to Reuters, 28 people survived, while 145 people died.

Reuters quoted one of the rescuers, Herbigio Corral, as saying, “Only the tail was recognizable, there was wreckage scattered all over the place and dead bodies across a wide area. A lot of them were children.”

In a short video of the crash from Spanish newspaper El Mundo, only smoke is visible rising from the crash site.

Within a few hours of the crash, Spanair posted a notice about the crash on its Web site. “Spanair regrets to confirm that its flight number JK 5022, from Madrid to Las Palmas de Gran Canarias was involved in an incident at Madrid, at 14.45 hrs local time today,” it read.

Friends and relatives can call +34 800 400 200 to find out about passengers.

An unnamed source told Reuters that the plane, which crashed at the end of the runway, had been delayed because of an unspecified mechanical problem.

Background: The troubled aircraft

The plane involved is an MD 82, a model developed by McDonnell Douglas. Boeing bought the company in 1997, according to BusinessWeek. American Airlines grounded several MD 80s in March and April of this year to work on the planes’ wiring following Federal Aviation Administration compliance checks. has a list of fatal events involving planes from the MD 80 series that dates back to 1981. The last crash was Atlas Jet MD 83, which went down near Keciborlu, Turkey, on Nov. 30, 2007. According to Airsafe, 57 passengers and crew died.

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