A pilot has died after the historic jet he was flying at an airshow in Spain today plunged into a building and exploded in a huge fireball in front of horrified spectators.
A spokesman for the country’s Defense Ministry said the pilot, Ladislao Tejedor Romero, died of his injuries in the serious burns unit of Getafe Hopsital in Madrid.
The aircraft crashed into a hanger and exploded at an airfield in the southwest of the capital in front of stunned witnesses, one of whom captured the crash on film.
Around 3,000 people were at Cuatro Vientos airfield watching a showcase of aerial acrobatics and vintage aircraft when the drama unfolded before them.
The 35-year-old experienced jet pilot and assistant to Defense Minister Pedro Morenes was flying one of the first jet-propelled planes to be manufactured in Spain.
The plane, a HA-200 Saeta, was a built in the 1950s as an advanced jet trainer by Hispano Aviacion, ministry spokesman Alfredo Florenza said. It was later given an attack capability.
Florenza said the cause of the crash was not known. Video footage shows the plane performing a steep dive at high speed ahead of the crash.
Frightened spectators can been seen running from the scene as the plane explodes behind them. The plane appeared to be flying well before the crash and had performed a series of aerobatic stunts, according to reports.
Wreckage of the plane, including one of its wings, could been seen littered around a car park among parked vehicles, some of which were damaged by the aircraft before it hit the building.
State broadcaster RTVE spoke to one witness who described seeing the jet plane plunge towards the ground before crashing into the buildings below.
The broadcaster also showed images of the explosion and the thick plume of black smoke which poured into the blue sky following the devastating incident.
Aftermath: Spanish broadcaster RTVE showed images of the explosion and the thick plume of black smoke which poured into the sky following the devastating crash
Emergency: A rescue worker suffering from smoke inhalation received first aid at the scene of the crash, according to the Europa Press news agency
Injuries: Europa Press news agency reported quotes from the emergency services saying three people other than the pilot required medical attention
Spain’s airport authority AENA said no one else other than the pilot was injured. But the Europa Press news agency reported quotes from the emergency services saying three people required medical attention.
One of them, a rescue worker, was said to be suffering from burns, while a 57-year-old man, believed to be the pilot’s father, was taken to hospital after suffering an anxiety attack.
Another rescue worker suffering from smoke inhalation received first aid at the scene, the agency said.
Cuatro Vientos, which translates as Four Winds, is the oldest airport and was previously used as a air base. It lies around 10 miles from central Madrid and was visited by Pope John Paul II in 2003 on his last trip to Spain.
Read more: Daily Mail