Thursday, August 21, 2008

Search for clues in Madrid crash

Accident investigators are to scour the wreckage of a plane that crashed at Madrid's Barajas airport, leaving 153 passengers dead.

The cause of the air disaster, Spain's worst in 25 years, has not yet been identified but the black box flight recorder was retrieved from the debris.

Relatives of the victims have been arriving at a makeshift mortuary in the capital all night to identify bodies.

Nineteen people survived the crash - some remain in a critical condition.

Spanair flight JK 5022, bound for Las Palmas in the Canary Islands, took off on Wednesday lunchtime with 172 people on board.

See satellite image of airport

Initial reports suggested that a fire had broken out in one of the engines during or shortly after take-off from Terminal Four, and the plane ended up in a field.

Spanish Transport Minister Magdalena Alvarez said the plane had earlier begun taxiing to the runway, before turning back because of a technical problem, which had caused an hour's delay in the take-off.

Spanish media said the pilot had reported a fault with a temperature gauge, but it was thought to have been fixed.

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