Latest: Binter Casa235 Crashed At Malaga

Thu Aug 30, 2001 2:16 am

Four dead in Spanish plane crash

Four people have died after a plane crash-landed on a road while coming into land at Malaga airport in southern Spain.

Reports say at least 25 people have been injured. The fatalities include the captain of the plane, who died later in hospital.

Spanish national radio said some of the injured were in a critical condition.

Emergency teams have now freed all those who were trapped inside.

The Binter Mediterraneo airline plane with 44 passengers and three crew crashed as it was coming in to land on a short trip from Melilla, a Spanish enclave in Morocco.

Two of the dead have been identified as Melilla residents.

A spokeswoman for Spain's national airport authority said the pilot had warned Malaga air traffic control at about 1000 local time (0800 GMT) that he was about to make a crash-landing.

National news agency Efe reported passengers saying that the plane's left engine had shut down as the aircraft approached the airport.

They said they had been stuck inside the plane for nearly half an hour before they could break a window and escape.

Nose first

A reporter at the scene for Spanish radio said the plane appeared to have come down nose first.

Those at the front appeared to have suffered the worst injuries, she said.

Three people were confirmed dead. The plane's captain Mariano Ruano, 55, died later in hospital, Binter said.

The Spanish pilots' union SEPLA said Mr Ruano's skillful flying had averted a greater tragedy.

Fire engines and ambulances were on the scene to help evacuate passengers.

One radio station, Cadena SER, said the plane had landed some 200 metres (yards) from Malaga airport, blocking traffic on the national highway N340.

The station said the main body of the plane had broken in half.

There are no reports that anyone on the ground was hurt.

Scheduled service

The plane is a propeller-driven CN-235, which carries 44 passengers, two pilots and a cabin attendant.

The aircraft, most commonly used for military transport, was flying a regular scheduled service.

The Binter fleet has five of the planes. Earlier in the year, Iberia sold Binter to Air Nostrum, a privately-owned Spanish airline that operates as an Iberia franchise.

Malaga airport has remained open and a spokeswoman at Gatwick Airport - the starting point for most UK flights to the resort - said the crash was not causing problems so far.

She said there were only another three flights scheduled to leave Gatwick for Malaga - all of them later on Wednesday afternoon.

Source: BBC