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Accidente Spanair
The wreckage of Spanair flight 5022 from Madrid to Gran Canaria.
15 fotos

Ten years on from the Spanair accident that killed 154 people

The aircraft crashed on takeoff from Madrid’s Barajas airport, with just 18 of the 172 people on board surviving the tragedy

  • A montage of images from a video supplied by airports authority AENA, in which the MD-82 aircraft can be seen attempting to take off before violently crashing into the ground. A congressional investigation into the crash remains open, but there has been no criminal trial. The Madrid provincial High Court shelved the case after ruling that the pilots, who both died in the accident, were solely to blame.
    1A montage of images from a video supplied by airports authority AENA, in which the MD-82 aircraft can be seen attempting to take off before violently crashing into the ground. A congressional investigation into the crash remains open, but there has been no criminal trial. The Madrid provincial High Court shelved the case after ruling that the pilots, who both died in the accident, were solely to blame. AENA
  • A total of 154 people died in the crash, the first with fatalities for the airline in its 20 years of history, and the most serious air incident of its kind in Spain in the last 25 years. Survivors and the families of the victims have taken their case to the European Court of Human Rights, where it was rejected. They are now holding out hope of a civil trial. In the image, fire crews and emergency services on the location of the accident.
    2A total of 154 people died in the crash, the first with fatalities for the airline in its 20 years of history, and the most serious air incident of its kind in Spain in the last 25 years. Survivors and the families of the victims have taken their case to the European Court of Human Rights, where it was rejected. They are now holding out hope of a civil trial. In the image, fire crews and emergency services on the location of the accident. AENA
  • Passengers look out from the airport after the accident took place. The president of the Flight JK5022 Victims Association, Pilar Vera, insists that blame cannot just be laid with the pilots, and that the Public Works Ministry and the Civil Aviation Accidents Investigation Commisssion (CIAIAC) also bear responsibility.
    3Passengers look out from the airport after the accident took place. The president of the Flight JK5022 Victims Association, Pilar Vera, insists that blame cannot just be laid with the pilots, and that the Public Works Ministry and the Civil Aviation Accidents Investigation Commisssion (CIAIAC) also bear responsibility.
  • The plane was due to take off as 1.20pm. But a sensor was overheating, prompting the pilot to return to the stand for a check. In the photo, the accident site after the fire caused by the crash was extinguished.
    4The plane was due to take off as 1.20pm. But a sensor was overheating, prompting the pilot to return to the stand for a check. In the photo, the accident site after the fire caused by the crash was extinguished. AENA
  • A mechanic decided to disconnect the sensor, given that it was not essential for flight in good weather. In the photo, a firefighting helicopter carries water to the site of the accident. In the background, the Cuatro Torres skyscrapers are visible.
    5A mechanic decided to disconnect the sensor, given that it was not essential for flight in good weather. In the photo, a firefighting helicopter carries water to the site of the accident. In the background, the Cuatro Torres skyscrapers are visible.
  • At 2.23pm, the plane was back on the runway. But the pilots fail to deploy the plane’s flaps, which are essential for generating enough lift during takeoff. In the photo, fire crews and emergency services at the crash site.
    6At 2.23pm, the plane was back on the runway. But the pilots fail to deploy the plane’s flaps, which are essential for generating enough lift during takeoff. In the photo, fire crews and emergency services at the crash site. AENA
  • The pilots fail to check the position of the flaps during two pre-flight checks. In the photo, a body at the crash site.
    7The pilots fail to check the position of the flaps during two pre-flight checks. In the photo, a body at the crash site.
  • The take-off warning system (TOWS) fails to warn the pilots of the incorrect position of the flaps. In the image, an Iberia flight takes off from Barajas once the airport was reopened to traffic, flying over the Spanair crash site.
    8The take-off warning system (TOWS) fails to warn the pilots of the incorrect position of the flaps. In the image, an Iberia flight takes off from Barajas once the airport was reopened to traffic, flying over the Spanair crash site.
  • Due to the incorrect position of the flaps, the plane has insufficient lift and crashes to the ground. In the photo, the remains of one of the MD-82’s engines.
    9Due to the incorrect position of the flaps, the plane has insufficient lift and crashes to the ground. In the photo, the remains of one of the MD-82’s engines. EFE
  • Pavilion number 6 at Madrid’s IFEMA conference center, which was used as a mortuary for the victims of the Spanair accident. In the last 10 years, the victims association has worked to create new procedures to deal with civil aviation disasters. “The plan was born out of the chaos and disaster that all the families went through,” explains Henar Guerrero, the secretary of the Flight JK5022 Victims Association. Guerrero had to stay in Madrid for 10 days before she could identify the bodies of her family members. “There were religious groups at the IFEMA pavilion who had come to sell their ideas to us of what death meant and why these things happen. There were even pickpockets,” she explains. “After what we went through we insisted on the need for an assistance plan, so that it wouldn’t happen again.”
    10Pavilion number 6 at Madrid’s IFEMA conference center, which was used as a mortuary for the victims of the Spanair accident. In the last 10 years, the victims association has worked to create new procedures to deal with civil aviation disasters. “The plan was born out of the chaos and disaster that all the families went through,” explains Henar Guerrero, the secretary of the Flight JK5022 Victims Association. Guerrero had to stay in Madrid for 10 days before she could identify the bodies of her family members. “There were religious groups at the IFEMA pavilion who had come to sell their ideas to us of what death meant and why these things happen. There were even pickpockets,” she explains. “After what we went through we insisted on the need for an assistance plan, so that it wouldn’t happen again.” EFE
  • American aerospace company Boeing, which manufactured the MD-82, admitted to the Madrid judge investigating the disaster that it had not alerted Spanair of the need to check that the take-off warning system (TOWS) was properly functioning before each flight. In the photo, rescue workers remove part of the plane’s fuselage.
    11American aerospace company Boeing, which manufactured the MD-82, admitted to the Madrid judge investigating the disaster that it had not alerted Spanair of the need to check that the take-off warning system (TOWS) was properly functioning before each flight. In the photo, rescue workers remove part of the plane’s fuselage. EFE
  • Within the aerospace community, there is a widespread view that the Barajas accident was a “carbon copy” of what happened in Detroit on August 16, 1987. On that day, the same model of plane crashed, killing 154 people – the same number of deaths as in Madrid. In the photo, two people embrace outside the IFEMA conference center, which was used as a mortuary.
    12Within the aerospace community, there is a widespread view that the Barajas accident was a “carbon copy” of what happened in Detroit on August 16, 1987. On that day, the same model of plane crashed, killing 154 people – the same number of deaths as in Madrid. In the photo, two people embrace outside the IFEMA conference center, which was used as a mortuary.
  • A sculpture in honor of the Spanair victims in Terminal 2 of Barajas airport.
    13A sculpture in honor of the Spanair victims in Terminal 2 of Barajas airport.
  • A floral tribute left at a plaque in the gardens of Terminal 2, at Barajas airport, on the occasion of the fifth anniversary of the accident.
    14A floral tribute left at a plaque in the gardens of Terminal 2, at Barajas airport, on the occasion of the fifth anniversary of the accident.
  • The survivors and families of the victims managed a legal victory in their battle for compensation in the wake of the accident. A Barcelona court increased the amount paid out to €600,000 per victim, doubling the previous amount agreed. Some of the changes achieved by the victims group in the wake of the accident include the publication of the official passenger list no longer than two hours after the accident – in the case of Spanair, it took more than 12 hours – and the prohibition of any lawyers approaching the families to offer their services during the first 45 days after a crash, to avoid a repeat of the harassment suffered by the families of the Spanair victims.
    15The survivors and families of the victims managed a legal victory in their battle for compensation in the wake of the accident. A Barcelona court increased the amount paid out to €600,000 per victim, doubling the previous amount agreed. Some of the changes achieved by the victims group in the wake of the accident include the publication of the official passenger list no longer than two hours after the accident – in the case of Spanair, it took more than 12 hours – and the prohibition of any lawyers approaching the families to offer their services during the first 45 days after a crash, to avoid a repeat of the harassment suffered by the families of the Spanair victims.