Ground Crew Faces Possible Manslaughter Charges
The judge investigating the Spanair Flight 5022 crash that
killed 154 people in August has called three mechanics for
questioning on suspicion of manslaughter, a Madrid court source
Speaking on the condition of anonymity, a Madrid Superior
Justice Court spokesman said Thursday that the judge had called the
Spanair maintenance chief at Madrid's Barajas airport, as well as
two mechanics who had checked the plane before it took off.
On August 20, the Spanair MD-82 crashed tail-first, bounced
three times as it skidded through a grassy area near the runway,
then largely disintegrated and burned after coming to a halt at the
edge of a stream.
As ANN reported, investigators are
focusing on a problem with the plane's wing flaps and the failure
of a cockpit alarm to sound, possibly contributing to the
The Associated Press reports that based on data from the
aircraft’s flight data and cockpit voice recorders,
investigators have concluded that if the wing flaps were indeed
faulty, the pilots were unaware because the cockpit alarm in
question did not go off.
Investigators said they had not yet reached a final
determination of why the plane went down.
Given what's known of the accident situation, however -- a
heavily-laden jet that failed to climb out of ground effect, on
what should have been a routine takeoff from a 10,000-foot runway
-- investigators say if there wasn't a power problem, one of the
few remaining possibilities is an issue with the configuration of
the plane's flaps and wing slats.
They add it's possible the plane's flight crew was distracted
during their preflight, and neglected to set takeoff flaps... or,
they may have received a faulty indication in the cockpit.
Another possibility -- and one supported by reports the plane
swerved off the runway -- is that the flaps deployed
asymmetrically, resulting in each wing producing different levels
An earlier defect with one of the plane's outside temperature
sensors that led the flight crew to abort their first takeoff
attempt and return to the gate for repairs, doesn't appear to have
been a direct factor in the subsequent crash.