Page last updated at 21:48 GMT, Thursday, 21 August 2008 22:48 UK

Madrid crash: Survivors' stories

Wreckage of the Spanair MD82, 21 August 2008 [Pic: EFE]
Out of the 22 children on the flight, only three survived

There were only 19 survivors of Wednesday's air crash at Madrid's Barajas Airport which claimed the lives of 153 people.

Here a survivor and others at the scene give their astonishing account of the last few minutes of the Spanair flight and the devastating aftermath of the disaster.


Ligia Palomino, a 41-year-old doctor, was one of the 19 survivors of Spanair flight JK 5022.

"The plane was rocking from one side to another. Then I began to suspect we would crash. I don't know what happened next. I saw people, smoke, explosions - I think that is what woke me up because I had lost consciousness.

"I lifted my head and all I saw were scattered bodies. I thought that if help did not arrive soon I would die."


Out of the 22 children on the flight, only three survived. Firefighter Francisco Alvarez was able to save one of the youngsters.

"I took one of the children into the lorry and he thought he was in a film. He asked: 'When will this film end?', and 'Where is my dad?' He asked if it was true, if he was in a film, but he wanted the film to end."


Ertoma Bolanos and his girlfriend Almudena, both 26, arrived at the airport a few minutes late, but it was enough to keep them off the doomed plane.

They learned of the disaster when Almudena's family called to say they had seen footage on television.

"Today is another birthday. We arrived three minutes late and they let us check in, but we did not make it [to the departure gate].

"We ended up trying to find a new flight. Then we discovered the plane we would have been on had crashed. We had no idea what had happened. My mouth dropped open.

"We have to fly to the Canary Islands - we're from there. You're not going to believe it, but we are going to fly again with Spanair."

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