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Span Air crash

Spanair Flight 5022, from Madrid-Barajas Airport to Gran Canaria Airport in Gran Canaria, Spain, crashed just after take off from runway of Barajas Airport on 20 August 2008. The aircraft was a McDonnell Douglas MD-82, registration EC-HFP. 154 people died, six died en route to the hospital, one died overnight and one died in the hospital three days later. Only 18 people survived. When it occurred, it became the deadliest aviation disaster in Spain since the crash of Avianca Flight 011 in 1983. The crash augmented financial difficulties at Spanair, which ceased operations on 27 January 2012.

The crash : The aircraft, named 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 166 passengers and six crew members.
The accident occurred as the aircraft attempted to take off, at 14:24 local time, because the pilots had omitted to deploy the flaps and slats ready for take-off. Without the use of these "high-lift" devices, the wings did not generate enough lift to keep the aircraft in the air. The MD-82 has a warning system (TOWS - Take-Off Warning System) that should have alerted the pilots, as they commenced their take-off run, that the plane was incorrectly configured for take-off. However, TOWS did not sound a warning, and the pilots continued with the fateful take-off attempt. The aircraft left the ground momentarily, rolled to the right, and crashed in the vicinity of the runway, breaking into at least two parts which were engulfed by the subsequent fire.

Of the 172 people on board, 146, including all crew members, perished in the crash or immediately after in the fire, of the 26 passengers rescued alive from the crash site, six died before arriving at the hospital, and two more in hospital, bringing the total number of fatalities to 154.

135 of the deceased and 16 of the survivors were Spanish nationals, 19 of the deceased and 2 survivors were of other nationalities. The deceased included German, French, Mauritanian, Turkish, Bulgarian, Gambian, Italian, Indonesian and Brazilian citizens.

The accident was investigated by the Civil Aviation Accident and Incident Investigation Commission (CIAIAC). A preliminary report on the accident was released by CIAIAC on 6 October. Flight data recorders showed that the aircraft had taken off with flaps at 0°, and that the alarm for that abnormal takeoff configuration had not sounded. The report hinted at no other cause of the accident. Both the engines and thrust reversers were excluded as causes of the accident.

On 17 August 2009, CIAIAC released an interim report on the incident. The interim report confirmed the preliminary report’s conclusion that the crash was caused by an attempt to take off with the flaps and slats retracted, which constituted an improper configuration, and noted that safeguards that should have prevented the crash failed to do so. The report also made a number of safety recommendations intended to prevent incidents like this from happening again.

CIAIAC published a further progress note in August 2010, and its final report in July 2011.

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