MADRID – A historic jet plane crashed into a hangar and exploded in a fireball at an air show southwest of the capital Sunday, severely injuring its pilot who later died in the hospital, officials said.
A spokesman for Spain's Defense Ministry said the pilot, Ladislao Tejedor Romero, 35, an experienced jet pilot and assistant to Defense Minister Pedro Morenes, died of his injuries in the serious burns unit of Getafe hospital.
Some 3,000 people were at Cuatro Vientos airfield watching a showcase of aerial acrobatics and vintage aircraft when the plane, one of the first jet-propelled planes to be manufactured in Spain, crashed, sending a fireball and thick black smoke into the air.
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.
State broadcaster RTVE showed images of a large plume of smoke rising above hangars Sunday and interviewed witnesses who described the plane diving and crashing into buildings. Spain's airport authority AENA said no one else other than the pilot was injured.
Europa Press news agency, however, reported quoting emergency services that two people, a rescue worker suffering from burns and a 57-year-old man suffering from an anxiety attack, believed to be the pilot's father, were transferred to hospital. A third rescue worker suffering from smoke inhalation received first aid at the scene, the agency said.