Four Airbus employees have been killed and two more are in hospital in a serious condition after an A400M military airlifter crashed just outside Seville, Spain shortly into a production test flight.
The A400M, which was due to be delivered to Turkey, crashed about 1.6km from Sevilla Airport on Saturday afternoon European time.
“The aircraft, with the serial number MSN023, was making the first production flight and had departed from Sevilla Airport at 12:45 pm local time,” Airbus Group said in a statement confirming the accident.
“An Airbus Group go-team of technical advisors is being dispatched to provide full assistance to the official committee in charge of the investigation.”
News reports from Spain said the aircraft had reported a problem during the initial climb.
All six crew flight test crew onboard were of Spanish nationality.
Airbus Group chief executive Tom Enders said the company was “deeply saddened” by the accident.
“All of our Airbus employees’ thoughts are with the families and their friends,” Enders said on Twitter.
“We will do all it takes to support the authorities in their investigation, which has just been launched.”
Turkey accepted the first of 10 A400Ms it has on order in April 2014. MSN023 was to be the third to be delivered.
The first customer A400M delivery was to the French air force in August 2013. Other current operators of the aircraft are Germany, the UK and Malaysia.
Germany’s Luftwaffe and Britain’s Royal Air Force both said they were suspending A400M flights in response to the accident.
The A400M program has totalled about 170 orders from eight nations.