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Mechanics quizzed over Madrid air crash

Two mechanics who carried out repair work on a Spanair plane that crashed at Madrid airport killing 154 people are being investigated for manslaughter, a Madrid court spokesman said today.

Data from the Spanair McDonnell Douglas MD-82's flight recorder showed that the aircraft had faulty wing flaps and that the take-off warning system had failed to sound, an initial report by Spain's Civil Aviation Accident Investigation Commission showed.

The plane, loaded with 10,130 litres of fuel, shot across 1 km of scrub before bursting into flames on 20 August in Spain's worst aviation disaster since 1983.

The mechanics and Spanair's head of maintenance at Madrid airport will be investigated as part of an investigation into the accident set up by a Madrid court to run parallel with operations by the public works ministry, the spokesman said.

The investigation is considering possible offences of 154 cases of manslaughter and 18 of bodily harm due to negligence.

No spokesman for Spanair, which is controlled by SAS, was immediately available for comment.

Members of the committee investigating the accident will include two pilots, two engineers and two mechanics who specialise in the MD-82.