Tuesday 21 February 2017

Heroic Spanish farmer praised for dragging survivors out of plane crash

Published 10/05/2015 | 18:13

Spanish authorities have praised the bravery of four farm workers who helped pull two survivors away from the burning wreckage of a military transport plane that crashed near Seville airport, killing four of the six test crew.

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Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy hailed the men as heroes on Twitter and posted a photograph of himself talking to one of the farmers.

Mr Rajoy called the man “a hero for us all”.

Read More: Four confirmed dead in Spanish military plane crash

Farmer Francisco Miranda Escudero told Spanish media how he and Manuel Iglesias , pictured on Twitter with PM Rajoy, saw two people crawling out from under a broken fuselage before  jumping four to five metres to the ground.

“The flames were horrifying and the continuous explosions tremendous,” Mr Escudero said as he explained to Spanish broadcaster TVE how he and Manuel Iglesias had pulled the injured away from the explosions.

He said the two owners of the field where the plane crashed also ran over to help them drag the men to safety.

The pair was taken to hospital with serious injuries.

The plane, which was undergoing flight trials, destroyed a high-tension electricity pylon as it smashed into a field, killing four people on board.

On Sunday, Spanish authorities confirmed that they had found the two black boxes from the crashed Airbus A400M.

Read More: Spain retrieves black boxes on crashed A400M aircraft

Both Britain and Germany have since grounded their fleets' A400Ms, and France said it was to limit their use until a full investigation into the Spanish crash was carried out.

Developed to replace Europe’s ageing Hercules transport planes, the A400M transporters have been beset by problems since it was launched in 2003.

Saturday’s disaster was the maiden test flight of an A400M which was due to be delivered to Turkey after trials had been completed.

According to Spain's ABC newspaper, which obtained a transcript of the communications between the pilots and the control tower at San Pablo airport, the flight was beset with problems from the very start.

Just one minute after leaving the ground at 12.55pm local time, the pilot said that the plane was experiencing minor technical faults and reported that he would be remaining in the skies near the airport.

At 12.58pm the pilot asked for permission to return to the airport and land, before immediately saying “We aren’t going to make the runway.”

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