AN Airbus A400M military transport plane has crashed in Sevilla just a 15 minutes after it took off on a test flight at San Pablo airport at around 13:00h local time.

In a statement Airbus said it was “devastated to confirm” the loss of four crew members, adding that another two are in hospital in a serious condition. All six crew members were Airbus Defence and Space employees of Spanish nationality, Airbus added.

“Our thoughts are with the families and friends of those affected by this tragic accident and we are providing all our care and support,” it said.

Spain’s airport authority, AENA,  said the airport briefly closed as its fire crews attended the plane crash outside the airport’s boundaries, forcing the diversion of several flights to Malaga and Jerez.

Sevilla is the final assembly point for almost 200 Airbus A400M planes which have been ordered by Spain and six other European NATO countries, including Britain, to replace their ageing Hercules fleets.

Britain’s Ministry of Defence said use of its two Airbus A400M planes has been “temporarily paused” as a precaution.

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