Prime Minister leads tributes as four killed in military plane crash
There was great sadness when four people were killed in a military plane crash in Seville but also heroism and great bravery officially recognised in the after-math. The Airbus A400M military transporter crashed during a test flight, ploughing into a field and bursting into flames just minutes after it took off.
Four of the six crew on board died, with the other two being pulled out of the wreckage by farm workers who rushed to the crash scene. Mariano Rajoy has hailed them as heroes and posted a photograph of himself on his Twitter site with one of the workers, calling him “a hero for us all”. He said it had been a very tragic accident and pledged the Spanish Government would do everything within its power to help the families of the victims. All of the crew members were Spanish. Campaigning for regional elections was suspended as a mark of respect. A memorial mass was held in Seville’s cathedral, with the archbishop Juan Jose Asenjo saying the accident had caused “deep sorrow” in Spain and across Europe. “While death is always painful and it raises innumerable questions about the enigma that is human life, the unexpected death of four people in the prime of their lives is more painful still,” he told the congregation. The coffins of the four victims, which were draped in the red and yellow Spanish flag and surrounded by wreaths of flowers, lined the altar of the cathedral for the service, which was attended by Spanish Defence Minister Pedro Morenes. The British Ambassador to Madrid, Simon Manley, described it as a “very emotional ceremony”. The Spanish authorities are leading an investigation into what happened and into the development of the Airbus A400M. Some countries took the decision to ground the aircraft until more was known.