A routine check could have averted the Madrid airport disaster in which 154 were killed, but the pilots were unaware of the problem until it was too late because the warning system failed to work, according to a draft report. The accident investigators also found that the Spanair jet failed to deploy its wing flaps prior to take-off, causing it to lose altitude and land on its tail before breaking up and catching fire.The findings are based on information from the MD-82’s flight data and cockpit voice recorders, and were reported in the Spanish media. Spanair has confirmed that the report had been distributed to the government and the plane’s manufacturers, MacDonnell Douglas.
Ana Mart’n-Pintado, a spokeswoman for Spanair said: “We know what it says but we don’t have anything to say until the investigation commission has pronounced itself officially.”
The plane, packed with holiday-makers bound for the Canary Islands, crashed after take-off on August 20. Only 18 of the 172 passengers and crew survived.
It was revealed last month that the Spanish pilots’ union, Sepla, sent a series of letters and emails to Spanair’s senior management warning of safety worries over a year before the crash.