Airbus Defence and Space has confirmed that one of its A400M Atlas aircraft was involved in an accident near the Sevilla (Spain) Airport on May 09 during a test flight.
The aircraft, which had been ordered by the Turkish Air Force, was making its first production flight and had departed from Sevilla Airport at 12:45 pm local time but was reported to have crashed only minutes later.
Airbus said it was ‘devastated’ to confirm that out of the total crew of six on board the plane, four had perished in the accident.
The remaining two crew members survived but are in hospital in a serious condition. All crew members were Airbus Defence and Space employees of Spanish nationality.
‘Our thoughts are with the families and friends of those affected by this tragic accident and we are providing all our care and support,’ Airbus said in a statement.
An Airbus Group go-team of technical advisors has been dispatched to provide full assistance to the official committee in charge of the investigation.
Local meteorological data showed clear conditions and a temperature of 29˚C (84˚F).
The accident is the first fatal incident involving the A400M design since the aircraft model was launched at the end of 2009.
The two black box flight recorders from the plane were recovered on Sunday although no further details about the cause of the accident have been released so far.
Britain’s Royal Air Force and Germany’s Luftwaffe immediately suspend all flights of the Airbus A400M until more is know about the reason for the crash. France has also suspended all but ‘priority flights’ of the aircraft, while Spain, Turkey and Malaysia have now all since grounded the A400M fleets pending the outcome of investigations.
Airbus yesterday carried out the first test flight of a new A400M since the crash with the boss of Airbus Military, Fernando Alonso, onboard the flight from the company’s headquarters in Toulouse, France to Seville, Spain.