Spain commemorates one of history’s worst plane disasters

by Lorraine Williamson
plane disaster - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Airbus_A320-232_-_Spanair_-_EC-IYG_-_LEMD_-_20050305.jpg

Last weekend, one of the worst plane disasters in Spain’s history was commemorated. On August 20, it was 14 years ago that Spanair flight MD-82 broke into pieces and burned out during take-off. 154 were killed and 18 injured. 

This accident will go down in the books as one of the worst plane disasters in the history of Spain. On Wednesday afternoon, August 20, 2008, the aircraft departed from Madrid-Barajas airport at the beginning of the afternoon with Las Palmas (Canary Islands) as its destination. Just after 1 pm, the pilot had to abort takeoff and return to the terminal due to a technical failure. However, after an hour, the pilot was allowed to make another attempt. 

Plane broke during takeoff 

At this point, everything went wrong. The plane broke into pieces at 2.24 pm during takeoff and it burned out almost completely. Later investigations revealed that the aircraft had the wrong configuration. However, the system that should have warned about this did not work with all the consequences that entailed. 

Turning point in aviation history Spain 

In the end, 154 fatalities and 18 injuries were counted. This accident represents a turning point in the history of Spanish aviation. As every year, a commemoration took place on August 20, both in Madrid and Gran Canaria, organised by the association of people affected by flight JK5022. In memory of the victims, flowers are laid at the monument erected after the disaster. 

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Lawsuits and investigations into plane disaster crash in Spain 

The airline Spanair went bankrupt in 2012. Years later, however, there are still lawsuits over the settlement of the accident. The association of people affected by flight JK5022 remains committed to prevent the shortcomings that caused this accident to be prevented as much as possible in the future. 

Their efforts are not without result: In May 2021, an opinion of the Commission of Inquiry was approved during a plenary session of the Congress of Deputies. Responsibility for the “system failure” that allowed the accident to occur has been placed with several government officials associated with the Ministry of Public Works and Transport of 2008. 

Tenerife plane crash largest in aviation history 

An even greater disaster occurred on March 27, 1977. On this date, the Tenerife plane crash took place. Then, two Boeing 747 aircraft (one from Pan American World Airways and one from KLM) collided with each other at Tenerife North Airport. 583 people were killed, only 61 people on board survived the disaster. Furthermore, this is not only the biggest plane disaster in Spain, but also in the history of aviation. 

Also read: Airline strikes this summer

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