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Probe still doesn't know what caused Spanair crash

world Updated: Aug 17, 2009 21:17 IST

Investigators probing a Spanish airliner crash that killed 154 people last year are still trying to figure out why the plane took off with its wing flaps and slats in the wrong position and a cockpit warning system failed to alert the pilots, a government commission said today.

The Spanish Civil Aviation Accident and Incidents Investigation Commission said it has reached no conclusions into what ultimately caused the crash of Spanair Flight JK5022 on Aug 20, 2008.

The MD-82 jet crashed on takeoff as it left Madrid bound for the Canary Islands. Eighteen people survived what was Spain's worst aviation disaster in 25 years.

Spain's Development Ministry, which oversees the commission, said it did not know when a final report might be issued.

Today's document sheds little new light on the cause. The flap problem and takeoff warning system failure were both identified in the initial report published on October 8.

The latest report says the plane's cockpit voice recorder identified the co-pilot verbally going through a preflight checklist and verifying the position of the jetliner's flaps and slats. These movable panels on the edges of the wing give a plane extra lift during takeoff when extended.

However, the report said, the Spanair jet took off with these devices in their retracted position, according to physical evidence and information from the plane's flight data recorder.