Spanair Flight 5022 Crash

Spanair Flight JK 5022, from Barajas Airport in Madrid to Gran Canaria Airport in Gran Canaria, Spain, crashed just after take off from runway 36L of Barajas Airport at 14:25 CEST (12:25 UTC) on 20 August 2008.

The aircraft was a McDonnell Douglas MD-82, registration EC-HFP. It was the first fatal accident for Spanair (part of the SAS Group) in the 20-year history of the company, and the 14th fatal accident and 24th hull loss involving MD-80 series aircraft. It was the world's deadliest aviation accident in 2008 and Spain's deadliest in 25 years. 154 people died, six while en route to the hospital, one overnight and one in the hospital three days later, leaving only 18 injured survivors left.

The aircraft, christened "Sunbreeze", registration EC-HFP, (manufacturer's serial number 53148, Douglas line number 2142) had been delivered to Korean Air on 18 November 1993 and was acquired by Spanair in July 1999. When it took off it was carrying a total of 172 people of which 162 were passengers, four deadheading crew members and six flight crew.

The accident occurred at 14:25 local time, seconds after takeoff. The aircraft rolled to the right, and crashed in the vicinity of the runway, breaking into at least two parts which were engulfed by the subsequent explosion.

Spanair reported that the pilot had previously attempted and aborted a departure due to a sensor reporting excessive temperature in an air intake, and that the temperature sensor was de-activated on the ground (reportedly an established procedure since that sensor is redundant), delaying departure by over an hour. Another takeoff was attempted, during which the fatal accident occurred.

The flight was a Star Alliance codeshare operated on behalf of Lufthansa as LH 2554. Seven passengers with Lufthansa tickets had reservations. Four of the Lufthansa passengers were from Germany.

A steady stream of family members of the 153 victims of the Spanair plane crash in Madrid poured into an improvised morgue today to begin the grim process of identifying their loved ones.

Some arrived by car, many more arrived at the sprawling convention centre near the airport in buses provided by Spain's second-biggest air carrier.

But according to psychologist Juan Mari Urruzuno, one of 300 volunteers on hand to help the families cope, almost all posed the same question: "Why did this happen to us?".

"A set of causes probably came together to cause the accident," Spain's civil aviation chief Manuel Bautista said.

Spanish media said a video of the crash showed that an engine had not exploded beforehand, as some witnesses stated.

A memorial service will be held in Madrid's Almudena Cathedral for the victims of the crash on 1 September.

DNA tests will be needed to identify many of those killed in Wednesday's disaster, the Spanish government says.

Experts investigating last week’s Spanish air crash, in which 154 people died, are reviewing a disaster in Detroit two decades ago that had striking similarities.

Mechanical failure, human error or a combination of the two are presumed to have doomed Spanair flight JK5022 as it tried to take off for the Canary Islands from Barajas airport in Madrid on Wednesday afternoon.

Initial reports that the port engine of the MD82 aircraft had caught fire as the plane hurtled down the runway appeared to have been disproved by a video that the airport has given to investigators.