Spain remembers deadly crash of one year ago

21st August 2009, Comments 0 comments

Spain marks the first anniversary of the Spanair crash that killed 154 people.

Madrid – Spain Thursday marked the first anniversary of the Spanair crash that killed 154 people, as families of the victims voiced anger that the plane had been cleared for take-off despite "an infinite number of irregularities".

The families, along with Transport Minister Jose Blanco, attended a mass at Madrid's Barajas airport, where the McDonnell Douglas-82 crashed moments after taking off on 20 August 2008.

Only 18 of the 172 people aboard survived Spain's deadliest air accident in 25 years.

The families also laid flowers at a plaque in memory of the victims at Barajas.

Authorities at the airport at Spanair's headquarters in Palma de Majorca observed a minute's silence at 2:20 pm (1220 GMT), the exact moment the plane crashed a year ago.

Another mass was to held at Las Palmas in the Canary Islands, the plane's destination, later Thursday.

Prelimary investigations into the disaster have said the wing flaps were not properly extended on take-off.

An alarm also failed to alert the pilots, who did not adhere to standard operating procedures and checklists to prepare the plane for take-off, including setting and confirming the proper wing configuration, the reports said.

The chief pilot had also aborted an earlier take-off attempt because of a faulty temperature gauge on an air intake valve, a problem that was fixed by mechanics prior to take-off.

"The plane should never have taken off as it had faults," the spokesman for an association of the victims, Javier Rodriguez, said Thursday. "There were an infinite number of irregularities."

Other family members accused the airport emergency services of a lack of coordination in dealing with the disaster, noting that the first ambulance arrived 40 minutes after the crash.

AFP / Expatica

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