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Spain hails passersby who helped military air crash survivors

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Mariano Rajoy

Mariano Rajoy

Spanish authorities on Sunday hailed as heroes three people who helped rescue two survivors of an Airbus A400M military plane crash near Seville airport that killed four people the previous day.

“Talking with Manuel, the farmer who saved the injured of the A400M crash in Seville. A hero for all of us,” Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy wrote in a Twitter message alongside a photo of him meeting with one of the three rescuers.

Manuel and two other people who were near Seville airport when the military plane crashed Saturday during a test flight with six people on board rushed to the scene and helped pull the two survivors from the windows of the plane, according to Spanish media reports.

The pair was taken to hospital with serious injuries.

“What we have to do during times like this is acknowledge the… attitude of these three citizens, which must be recognised by society,” the head of the regional government of Andalusia, Susana Diaz, told reporters.

The plane was one of the new A400M troop and vehicle transporters manufactured by European aerospace group Airbus.

It is the first accident involving the plane, which is assembled at a factory in Seville, since went into service.

The first A400M was delivered to France in 2013, with subsequent planes sold to Turkey, Britain, Germany and Malaysia.

The A400M programme has been beset by problems since it was launched in 2003.

Following the crash, Spanish political parties announced suspension of their campaigning for May 24 regional elections out of respect for the victims.

Rajoy, who received the news on a campaign visit to Tenerife, one of the Canary Islands, visited the crash scene on Saturday.


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