At least four people have died after a military cargo plane crashed shortly after taking off from Seville airport on Saturday, the Spanish central government’s delegate in Andalusia, Antonio Sanz, has confirmed.
A total of six people – all Spaniards – were aboard the Airbus A400M, Sanz said. Two others are seriously wounded with multiple injuries and second- and third-degree burns.
The plane, which was undergoing tests, crashed into an electricity pylon shortly after alerting air traffic control that it was experiencing problems.
One of the first people to arrive on the scene said that “almost the whole plane had been turned into ash”
A pile of ash, part of the destroyed pylon, and wreckage from the aircraft, including its wheels, are visible at the site.
One of the first people to arrive on the scene said that “almost the whole plane had been turned into ash.”
Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy expressed his sympathy over the incident. “We offer our support to the victims and their relatives and express our sorrow” said the Popular Party (PP) leader, who was in the middle of an election rally when he heard the news. “At this time I have to ask for this meeting to come to an end, because I have just been informed that an Airbus airplane has crashed,” he told those gathered. Both the PP and the Socialist Party have cancelled all campaigning for the May 24 local and regional elections planned for Saturday.
The A400M is the military aircraft with the biggest propellors in the world and undergoes final assembly at the Airbus Military plant in Seville. The aeronautics firm began manufacturing the model in 2011 after a number of delays. The project got underway in 2003 following an agreement between seven countries – Germany, France, Spain, the UK, Turkey, Belgium and Luxembourg – which together promised to buy 180 units.
The original budget for the program was €20 billion but that was increased by another €11 million as a result of the amount of technology required. The aircraft that crashed had yet to be handed over to its buyer, Turkey, and was still the property of Airbus.
Spain has committed to buying 27 of the aircraft, the first of which is due to be handed over at the start of 2016. The aim is for them to replace the US-made C-130 Hercules tactical airlifters that have been in service in the Spanish air force since 1973.
Even thought the accident occurred outside the perimeter of Seville’s San Pablo airport, no planes are currently landing or taking off there on account of the fact that firefighters are unavailable. Flights have been diverted to Málaga and Jerez.