- Dec 28, 2005
- Total Time
At least 45 dead in Madrid plane crash
Wed Aug 20, 2008 11:23am EDT
By Paul Day
MADRID (Reuters) - At least 45 people were killed when a Spanair jet crashed on takeoff at Madrid airport on Wednesday, the government said, but an emergency services source reported about 150 fatalities.
A large cloud of smoke billowed at Terminal Four from the remains of flight JK5022's MD82 jet for Las Palmas in the Canary Islands. It shot off the runway carrying 164 passengers and nine crew, according to Spanair.
The national government's office in Madrid said 45 were confirmed killed and another 19 were seriously hurt while 35 were unharmed.
But a source at the emergency services said the deathtoll was much higher and that only about 25 people had survived.
"They are pulling out burnt corpses. The plane has been completely destroyed," said the source.
There were thick columns of smoke and police blocking off both ends of the runway, where more than 20 ambulances and many fire engines were parked, a Reuters witness said.
Dozens of shocked relatives began arriving at Las Palmas airport on the island of Gran Canaria, where they were whisked into a room away from the press and comforted by Red Cross psychiatrists.
Spanair is a subsidiary of Scandinavian Airlines Systems (SAS).