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Passengers reportedly saw flames before jet crashed, killing 153

  • Story Highlights
  • NEW: Local officials say one of jet's two engines caught fire
  • NEW: Two infants among 19 survivors, Spanish official says
  • NEW: Passenger list posted on Spanair Web site
  • MD-82 crashed while taking off from Madrid's main airport
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MADRID, Spain (CNN) -- Passengers said they saw flames and then heard an explosion moments before a Spanair jet crashed on takeoff Wednesday at Madrid's Barajas Airport, killing 153 people, according to local media.

The Spanair Flight JK5022 was carrying 172 people. There were 19 survivors, including two infants, Development Minister Magdalena Alvarez said.

The 19 were being treated at a hospital, Alvaraez said.

The severity of the injuries varies, but many of the injured have been treated for burns, Spanish Red Cross spokeswoman Olivia Acosa said. Video Watch as the wounded arrive at a hospital »

The flight was bound for Las Palmas in the Canary Islands, two hours away.

Local officials said one of the engines caught fire. The aircraft, an MD-82, has two jet engines, both at the rear.

The burning plane came to rest in a gully about 2:45 p.m. (8:45 a.m. ET).

The crash sent up a plume of smoke visible from several kilometers away. At the time of the crash, weather conditions were hot and clear. Video Watch smoke rising from airport »

A survivor told Spain's ABC newspaper that she and other passengers heard an explosion as the plane was taking off. iReport: Send us your pictures, video, information.

"She said they could see the fire, ... and then it was not even a minute or so they heard [something] blow up," reporter Carlota Fomina told CNN. "They were about 200 meters [660 feet] in the air, and then they were landing but not crashing. They were landing, like, little by little; it was not like they [fell] down suddenly."

The MD-82 was carrying 162 passengers, four non-working crew members and six working crew members, Spanair said. After contacting families, the airline published the names of those aboard on its Web site. Video Watch as relatives of survivors start arriving at the airport »

Some of the survivors have serious injuries, while others have non-life-threatening injuries. Many of the injured were treated for burns, she said.

The aircraft was carrying seven passengers from Lufthansa Flight 2554, according to the airline. Spanair, a low-cost airline that has a flight-sharing agreement with Lufthansa, is owned by SAS Scandinavian Airlines.

Barajas Airport closed after the crash but reopened more than two hours later, allowing a limited number of takeoffs and landings, an airport official said. See a map of the airport »

Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero arrived at the airport Wednesday evening after cutting short a vacation.

"The government will do all it can to support the families in this difficult situation," he said. "The whole government, logically, is affected, very affected, as are all Spanish citizens, by this tragedy."

The fatal crash was the first at the airport since December 1983, when 93 people were killed as two Spanish airliners collided.

The airport, eight miles (13 km) northeast of central Madrid, is Spain's busiest, handling more than 40 million passengers a year.

The United States National Transportation Safety Board is sending an investigation team to Madrid because the aircraft is American-made, NTSB spokesman Keith Holloway said.

Spanair has set up a local emergency number for family members and friends phoning from Spain: +34 800-400-200.

CNN's Madrid Bureau Chief Al Goodman, Brian Todd and Kathleen Koch contributed to this report

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