Seville airport crash: At least three people killed as A400M military plane plunges into field

At least three people have been killed and two seriously injured in the crash

Lizzie Dearden@lizziedearden
Saturday 09 May 2015 21:19
The wrekage of an Airbus A400 military plane which crashed in the San Pablo airport in Seville
The wrekage of an Airbus A400 military plane which crashed in the San Pablo airport in Seville

At least three people have died after a military transport plane on a test flight crashed near San Pablo airport in Seville today.

Two more people were pulled from the wreckage with serious injuries, a spokesperson for the emergency services said, and two others were unaccounted for.

Pictures showed a column of black smoke rising into the air after the accident at around 1pm local time (noon BST).

It was the first fatal accident involving Europe's newest troop and heavy cargo carrier, prompting the Ministry of Defence to temporarily stop using it.

British forces own two Airbus A400M aircraft but a spokesperson said flights had been “temporarily paused” as a precaution.

The Spanish Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, confirmed the crash, saying that the seven on board appeared to all work for Airbus and were not military staff.

Firemen trying to extinguish the flames after a Airbus A400 military plane crashed near Seville on 9 May

Cancelling the rest of his political engagements today, he said the government “sympathises with the victims and their families and offers our regret,” El Pais reported.

Local news website ABC de Sevilla reported the crew contacted air traffic controllers about a technical failure shortly after they took off.

The plane came down around one mile north of the airport.

An industrial estate near the crash site, which includes a Coca-Cola factory, lost electrical power as a result of the crash, according to Spain's airport authority the AENA.

Airbus has a manufacturing and testing facility for its military aircraft at Seville Airport and has flown the A400M model there before, including on its maiden flight in 2009.

The plane was developed for Spain and six other Nato countries including Britain, France and Germany, in a €20 billion (£15 million) joint defence project.

The A400M Atlas entered service in 2013 after a delay of more than three years.

A spokesperson for Airbus said the MSN23 transport plane that crashed had been assembled in Seville and was ordered by Turkey. The company had sent a team to the site.

The Coca-Cola factory lies just north of Seville Airport, which houses an Airbus Military testing facility

AENA said the airport had to be closed because its fire crews had gone to attend the crash.

Ryanair, British Airways and Air Berlin are among the international carriers that use San Pablo Airport, and some flights were diverted to Malaga and Jerez.

A spokesperson for British Airways said it only had one service into Seville today, which was due to land at 5.10pm UK time but will be delayed until the airport is expected to reopen at 6pm.

Additional reporting by agencies

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