A routine holiday flight has ended in tragedy with almost 150 people feared dead in a plane crash at Madrid Airport. The Span-Air service bound for the Canary Islands swerved off the runway and broke in two.
More than 170 passengers and crew were on board. At least three of those were children. Latest reports from rescue teams suggest only 26 people may have survived.
There have been reports of an engine fire but it is not clear whether this was a cause or a result of the accident.
Span-Air JK5022 was heading for the resort of Las Palmas at the height of the holiday season. The flight was linked with Lufthansa. The firm says seven of its passengers, four from Germany, were on board.
As a major emergency operation swung into action at hospitals in the Spanish capital, casualty figures varied dramatically. But Spain’s government, which initially gave a figure of 45 dead, now reportedly believes at least 146 people perished in this crash. Some reports suggested 19 of those injured were in a critical condition.
The Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero has broken off his holiday to deal with this disaster. And authorities in Spain have declared three days of mourning. They say the flight is one of the worst the country and Europe has experienced in 15 years.