At Least 45 Killed in Madrid Plane Crash

Airliner bound for Canary Islands swerved off the runway

An airliner bound for the Canary Islands swerved off the runway while departing from Madrid airport Wednesday, killing at least 50 people and as many as 150 onboard,  Spain's national airport authority and Spanish media reported.

Citing sources in Spain's emergency services, Reuters was reported that all but 25 of the 173 people onboard had been killed, but the official death toll from the Spanish government said 45 people perished in the fiery crash.  Television footage showed thick, white smoke rising from the scene.

The Spanair plane had been taking off for the Canaries, popular vacation islands off West Africa, the AENA airport authority said. It had no immediate information about how many people were on board.

The El Pais newspaper said there were 160 people on the plane.

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