Madrid Plane Crash
A plane bound for Las Palmas in the Canary Islands carrying 172 people on board crashed shortly after take off from Madrid's Barajas airport, leaving 153 passengers dead.
Initial reports suggest that a fire in one of the MD82 plane's engines broke out during or shortly after take-off.
Accident investigators are now scouring the wreckage and will start to analyse the plane's flight data and voice recorders, which have both been recovered from the debris, in an effort to find out what caused the crash.
Spanish Transport Minister Magdalena Alvarez confirmed that the plane had aborted an earlier take off attempt because of a technical problem which then caused an hour's delay in the eventual ill-fated take-off.
A safety audit was conducted earlier this year on the MD-80 series fleet which resulted in American Airlines grounding their entire stock of MD-80's. This resulted in almost 6000 flights being cancelled as the hydraulic wiring in the planes was checked.
Delta Airlines also had to cancel 275 flights after inspecting their MD-80 fleet. Reports confirm that almost 400 people have been killed in the last 5 years in accidents involving MD-80 series aircraft.
Clive Garner, an Aviation law expert from Irwin Mitchell solicitors, said: "Having acted for the victims of previous crashes involving MD-80, and other aircraft, it is dreadful to see another terrible crash of this kind. There were ominous warning signs leading up to this incident that may suggest this tragic loss of life could have been avoided. It is now up to the Spanish Civil Aviation Authorities to undertake a full investigation into the cause of this tragedy.
"Whilst statistically air travel remains one of the safest forms of transport, when an incident like this occurs lessons must be learnt. It is obviously vital that all airlines adhere to the strictest standards which are never compromised by putting budgets before passenger safety."