Old 08-25-2008, 10:51 AM Offline   #1 (permalink)



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Default Aug 25 - Spanair-operated jet has technical problems

By PAUL HAVEN 1 hour ago

MADRID, Spain (AP) Spanair's catastrophic week continued Monday, as yet another plane operated by the airline was forced to turn back due to a technical problem the second in as many days. On Wednesday, a Spanair jet bound for the Canary Islands crashed during takeoff, killing 154 people.

The plane Monday from the same MD-80 series as the one that crashed was 45 minutes into a flight from Granada in southern Spain to the northeastern city of Barcelona when it had to turn back to the airport in Granada, the national airport authority AENA said.

Spanair said the plane was carrying 158 passengers and crew. The aircraft is owned by a small Spanish company called Swiftair, but the crew including the pilot and co-pilot were all Spanair employees.

The Spanish news agency Efe quoted passengers on the flight as saying the pilot reported a problem with the aircraft's communication system.

Spanair gave no information about the nature of the problem about Flight JK6621, referring questions to Swiftair. That company said it had no comment.

Spanair said Monday's passengers were later put on other planes. It was the second Spanair-operated plane in as many days to experience problems.

On Sunday, a Spanair jet flying from Barcelona to Lanzarote in the Canary Islands was diverted to Malaga in southern Spain because of a problem with a backup generator. As a special precaution, Spain's civil aviation agency sent inspectors to examine that plane, also part of the MD-80 series.

Meanwhile, forensic teams have identified the bodies of more than half the 154 victims of last week's plane crash in Madrid, but the interior minister warned that some of the badly charred bodies may never be identified.

"We are working day and night," Interior Minister Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba said in an interview with Cadena Ser radio. He said 92 sets of remains have been identified so far, and that most of the rest would be identified in a matter of days.

Only 18 people survived the crash and all are still hospitalized.

The minister said the identification process is taking longer than expected because of the poor condition of some sets of remains and difficulty in obtaining DNA samples from relatives, especially those of foreigners who died in the disaster. One of the victims was a foreign-born, adopted child.

"If you have a sample from a brother or a father, it is easy. But if we get away from this and have to turn to more distant relatives, things are much, much more complicated," Perez Rubalcaba said in the radio interview.

"Will some bodies go unidentified? I cannot tell you right now, but it is a possibility," the minister said.

The newspaper El Pais, quoting sources close to the crash investigation, said the probe is focusing on the possibility that the Spanair jet lacked proper engine power as it tried to take off. The plane struggled to get airborne, veered to the right and crashed, burning and largely disintegrating.

The crash came after a first attempt at takeoff was delayed by what Spanair calls a minor problem with a temperature gauge outside the cockpit.

El Pais said airport video of the takeoff shows that the plane used up much more of the runway than it normally should as it tried to take off for the Canary Islands, which suggested insufficient thrust.

Spanish civil aviation chief Manuel Bautista, speaking at a news conference Monday, said he would not comment on any aspect of the investigation. He said Spanair planes have passed more than 100 inspections so far this year.

"In general, the company was fine and no problems whatsoever were detected," he said.

He defended Spanish air safety regulations as "safe and trustworthy."

http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5i...ooA4AD92PE3180
 
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