Spain sees multiple causes in plane crash
Sunday, 24 August 2008

AP, MADRID, Spain - Spain's civil aviation chief said Friday a combination of factors probably caused this week's fiery plane crash in Madrid, which killed 153 people.

In an interview with The Associated Press, Manuel Bautista said a failure of one of the Spanair MD-82's two engines by itself — if such a failure did in fact occur — should not normally be enough to bring down a modern aircraft because they are designed to fly on just one if necessary.

"A set of causes probably came together to cause the accident," Bautista said.
 
With an investigation under way with help from the United States and the airplane's manufacturer, he said it was too early to say if human error was involved.
 
Bautista said he has seen — but would not comment on — video footage from Madrid airport that shows the doomed airliner trying to take off. The newspapers El Pais and ABC said it shows no engine explosion, contrary to some witness accounts.
 
The plane abandoned one takeoff attempt because of a mechanical problem with what the airline called an air intake temperature gauge near the cockpit. The gauge was essentially turned off and the plane cleared for takeoff. It crashed on takeoff.
 
Aviation experts have said the gauge problem, usually a relatively minor glitch, was unlikely to have caused the crash, but Bautista would not rule out the possibility that it contributed to the accident.
 
"A problem with a temperature sensor may not matter at all or it can be very important, depending on what other circumstances accompany it," Bautista told the AP. "We will have to see what other issues were present."

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