Relationship To Reported Left Engine Fire Unknown
Spanish low-cost carrier Spanair SA
acknowledged Thursday the MD-82 involved in a fatal takeoff crash
at Madrid's Barajas International Airport had aborted a previous
takeoff attempt, then returned for repairs... but it's unknown
whether that fault had anything to do with Wednesday's mishap, that
killed 153 of the 172 people onboard the plane.
Bloomberg reports the plane's flight crew noted an air-intake
fault, possibly tied to an outside temperature probe, as the plane
was preparing to take off from Madrid Wednesday afternoon. The
MD-82 returned to the gate and the problem was "isolated" before
the aircraft took the runway once again, according to Javier
Mendoza, head of operations at the carrier.
It's unknown whether that problem had anything to do with the
crash, however. Investigators are focusing their efforts on
determining whether the MD-82's left turbofan caught fire as the
plane approached rotation speed; the problematic intake was
reportedly at the front of the airliner, according to the
"We will not today speculate about the cause of the accident,
this is only hindering the formal investigation," said Spanair CEO
Officer Marcus Hedblom on Thursday.
As ANN reported, the airliner departed the
runway at MAD as it attempted to takeoff for a two-hour flight to
the Canary Islands. The airliner broke apart as it struck the
ground off the runway, and caught fire.
The accident airliner was 15 years old -- relatively young for
an MD-82 -- and was powered by rear-mounted Pratt & Whitney
JT8D-217c turbofans. Representatives with the enginemaker, as well
as from Boeing and the National Transportation Safety Board, are
assisting local officials.
Flight 5022 was also operating as a codeshare flight for
Germany's Lufthansa, under LH255. Officials say 166 passengers were
onboard the MD-82, and six crewmembers. Four of the passengers were
also employees with the airline, presumably non-revving on the
Madrid's regional government says 19 people are being treated
for burns at city hospitals, with four listed in serious
Spanair is owned by Scandinavian flag carrier SAS... which has
been trying to sell the Spanish LCC. Given the likelihood of legal
action and other fallout from Wednesday's crash, it's unlikely
Spanair will survive long enough find a buyer, said
researchers with Standard & Poor's.