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Madrid crash report cites pilot error

  • Story Highlights
  • Spanish air crash report says human and technical errors may have caused accident
  • 154 killed when Spanair Flight JK5022 crashed at Madrid's airport a year ago
  • Report: Pilots "did not strictly comply" with procedures to verify plane's readiness
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MADRID, Spain (CNN) -- Just before the first anniversary of a Spanish airliner crash that killed 154 people last August 20 at Madrid's airport, government investigators released a report Monday, saying technical and human errors may have contributed to the accident.

The report did not establish final conclusions on what definitively caused the crash of the MD-82 aircraft on Spanair Flight JK5022.

But it indicated that the pilots' review of the "final items" checklist just before takeoff may not have been carried out properly.

Plus, it repeated findings from an earlier report that the wing flaps and slats were not properly deployed for takeoff and that the plane's cockpit warning system failed to notify the pilots about this problem.

The report, by the Spanish Civil Aviation Accident and Incidents Investigation Commission, said its basic mission was to try to prevent future accidents and that its work was exclusively technical, without establishing any blame or responsibility for the crash.

The 83-page interim report, viewed by CNN, was dated August 4, but released on Monday.

Development Minister Jose Blanco, who oversees the commission, told reporters he hopes the commission's recommendations -- to European Union authorities, to review takeoff procedures -- would be put into place when Spain's holds the rotating EU presidency in the first half of 2010.

The Spanair jet crashed upon takeoff at Madrid's airport on a scheduled commercial flight to Spain's Canary Islands. There were just 18 survivors pulled from the crash site which burned 45 hectares or 111 acres at the end of a runway.

Among the dead were the pilot, age 39, and the co-pilot, 31.

The report said the pilots "did not strictly comply" with procedures to verify the plane's flight readiness just before takeoff, "eliminating the security protection that these procedures provide."

The report said the pilots' actions might have been due to another technical problem which prompted the plane to return from the runway to the terminal before takeoff, or "the pressure from the delayed takeoff time, or deficiencies in the work method used in the cabin."

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