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Page last updated at 18:05 GMT, Wednesday, 20 August 2008 19:05 UK

Eyewitness: Madrid plane crash

A plane has crashed at Madrid's Barajas airport, killing at least 100 people. Alan Gemell was on board another plane coming in to land as the doomed Spanair flight was trying to take-off. This is what he saw.

Ambulances heading to the crash site at Madrid's Barajas airport
Dozens of fire engines and ambulances were quickly on the scene

As we landed and the plane turned off, from my seat I could see smoke coming up from the end of the runway.

We were kept on the plane [an Iberia flight from Jerez] for about 20 minutes because the airport initially closed down - stopping incoming and outgoing flights.

There was a small mushroom cloud, as you might expect after an explosion.

When we were coming in to land the emergency services were alongside our plane. As we slowed down they overtook us and went straight to the crash scene. They were at the scene within two minutes.

I live near the airport and the surrounding area is very dry, and it was a hot day.

The problem was that after the plane crashed, the area around it was engulfed in flames. The firefighters could not get to the the plane.

That is why the helicopters came with their water tanks - they were putting out the fire.

There must have been about 80 or 90 ambulances on the scene by the time we got into the terminal.

I have never seen so many, it was a constant stream, which did not stop for about 20-25 minutes.

I could see flames coming from the tail end of the plane. It looked like the left wing was broken and the aircraft was lying on its side.

The people inside the airport were still unaware of the scale of the accident, but when they started to delay or cancel all the flights - you knew something serious had happened.

People concerned for relatives or friends who may have been on board the plane should call Spanair's helpline on: +34 800 400 200.


SEE ALSO
Aftermath of plane crash
20 Aug 08 |  Europe
Air disasters timeline
20 Aug 08 |  Special Reports


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