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Last Updated: Wednesday August 20 2008 15:49 GMT

Many killed in Spain plane crash

Smoke from the crash

Many people have been killed and others injured in a plane crash at an airport in Spain's capital city Madrid.

The Spanair plane swerved off the runway as it tried to take off at around 13.45 on Wednesday afternoon.

The flight was on its way from Barajas airport, to the holiday island of Gran Canaria with about 160 people onboard.

The plane skidded into fields and burst into flames, and fire fighters and other emergency services rushed to the scene.

Plane expert Chris Yates said the aircraft was a MD82, a plane used a lot on short trips around Europe.

Mr Yates said the airline, Spanair, had a very good safety record.

It's important to remember that incidents like this are very rare.