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Chain of faults in Madrid jet disaster

A video of the Madrid air disaster shows no engine on fire as the Spanair jet hurtled to a fiery crash and experts now believe a chain of faults caused the catastrophe.

world Updated: Aug 22, 2008 23:49 IST

A video of the Madrid air disaster showed no engine on fire as the Spanair jet hurtled to a fiery crash and experts now believe a chain of faults caused the catastrophe, media said on Friday.

As investigators pursued a painstaking operation to identify the 153 victims, authorities announced that a national funeral service will be held in Madrid’s Almudena Cathedral.

Images filmed by the civil aviation authority, AENA, showed that the Spanair MD 82 took off and crashed moments later off the runway, newspapers reported. “The video shows that the plane caught fire only after it hit the ground,” El Pais said.

Witnesses said the left engine caught fire as the plane took off on a flight to the Canary Islands, but authorities have not confirmed this.

A total of 153 people were killed and 19 injured. Most of the dead were burned beyond recognition and the grim task of identifying the bodies continued at a makeshift morgue at a Madrid congress centre.

Authorities said 59 bodies have been identified using fingerprints. DNA tests will be necessary to identify 94 others.

The mayor of Madrid, Alberto Ruiz Gallardon, said a funeral service would be held for all the victims on Monday, September 1 at Almudena Cathedral.