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21 August 2008

Crash of Spanair MD82 on 20 August 2008

The aircraft crashed shortly after takeoff on a scheduled domestic flight from Madrid to Las Palmas in the Canary Islands. Early reports indicated that the left engine experienced a major malfunction during the takeoff. The aircraft was able to get airborne, but the crew set the aircraft down in a area to the right of the departure runway. The aircraft broke up and there was a severe post-crash fire.
There were 162 passengers and 10 crew members on board, and 153 of the 172 occupants were killed. Among the passengers were 20 children and two infants. Both infants reportedly survived. Many of the 19 survivors suffered burns, some of them serious.

This was also a code share flight with Lufthansa, and that airline reported that seven of their passengers had transferred to the Spanair flight from a previous Lufthansa flight. , and that airline reported that seven of their passengers were checked in for the flight.

About Spanair
This was the first fatal event for Spanair, the second largest of the five airlines in the SAS Group. The airline began operations in 1988. At the end of June 2008, there were 65 aircraft in the Spanair fleet, averaging 13 years old. The fatal event aircraft was built in 1993.

About the MD80
This was the 15th fatal event involving the MD80 series aircraft. Four fatal events have been in Europe, and four in the US. The aircraft began commercial operations in 1980, with the first fatal event in 1981. This latest crash was the eighth fatal MD80 event since 2000.

For additional information on this crash, including links to related audio and video podcasts and updates on the investigation, visit

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The transcript of this podcast is available at

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