More reports on: Defence general, Military aircraft

Airbus military transport aircraft crashes in Spain killing four

11 May 2015

An Airbus Group NV military transport aircraft crashed on Saturday shortly after taking off from the Spanish city of Seville, killing four of its crew members, while two survivors suffered serious injuries.

According to a Spanish government official, the A400M aircraft was carrying six crew members and crashed in a field about a mile (1.6 km) north of Seville's San Pablo airport. The plane caught fire on hitting the ground.  The two injured have been shifted to hospital.

Local television news coverage showed the plane, marked M23, completely destroyed and a large plume of black smoke rising over the scene.

Confirming the mishap, an Airbus spokesman said the plane was on a production test flight and was due for delivery to the Turkish air force in June. It took off at 12:45 pm local time and crashed about 15 minutes later.

All the six people on board were Spanish and were employees of Airbus.

The Spanish authorities have launched an investigation into the cause of the crash. Airbus said it had dispatched a team of technical experts to assist in the investigation.

''We will do all it takes to support the authorities in their investigation, which has just been launched,'' Airbus chief executive Tom Enders said.

The search team has already retrieved the black boxes, which record cockpit conversations.

According to plane-tracking website Flightradar24, the plane crashed at 12:57 pm, after reaching an altitude of 1,725 feet and then descending at 184 miles an hour (296 kmph).

This is the first crash involving an A400M military aircraft, which is manufactured at Airbus' Seville plant.

A400M is a large four-engine turbo prop military aircraft with tactical airlifter with strategic capabilities, developed by Airbus Defence and Space, a division of the Airbus Group.

The aircraft, with a load capacity of 37 tonnes, was designed to replace older transport aircraft of German-French make Transall C-160 and US Lockheed Martin C-130. It has a cruising speed of 780 kmph and a range of 3,300 km with maximum payload, and its price tag is about 100 million.

Airbus has orders for 174 aircraft from eight nations. Production of the plane was affected by delays and cost overruns and the first A400M was delivered to the French Air Force in 2013.

In the wake of the plane crash Britain, Germany, Turkey and Malaysia have temporarily grounded all their A440Ms, saying that they have paused the operations of the plane until the reasons for the crash become clear.

France said it would only permit ''priority flights in operations already under way.''

Airbus said it would continue with planned test flights, with the next one due this week in France.

Britain and Turkey have two A400M planes each and Germany has one, while Malaysia, the plane's first customer outside the original launch nations, has four aircraft.

 search domain-b