MADRID, Aug 21, 2008 (AFP) - One of the 19 survivors of a Spanish jetliner which crashed shortly after takeoff, killing 153 people, recalled on Thursday seeing bodies scattered everywhere as she escaped the wreckage of the plane.
"I lifted my head and all I saw were scattered bodies," Ligia Palomino, a doctor, told Spain's top-selling daily newspaper El Pais.
Palomino said she was left semi-unconscious immediately after the Spanair plane slammed into a field beyond the runway on Wednesday, but woke up when one of the MD-82's fuel tanks exploded.
"I heard a horrible noise and I fled," she told the newspaper, adding she then called her sister Fernanda from the ambulance that took her to a Madrid hospital.
"My telephone rang and it was her. She told me that the airplane exploded but she was alright, that we should not worry," said Fernanda.
Palomino suffered burns and superficial cuts to her face and was operated on a bone facture on her left leg.
The Spanair flight with 172 people on board was bound for the Canary Islands.
Four of the 19 injured from the Madrid disaster were in "very serious" condition in hospital on Thursday. Transport Minister Magdalena Alvarez said it would take two days to identify all the bodies of the 153 dead.
An airport worker, who gave her name only as Maria, told Spanish media that she escorted two surviving children, an 11-year-old girl and an eight-year-old boy from the crash site to ambulance.
"The boy was in good shape, he complained of some pain, but what concerned him most was finding his parents," she said, adding the girl also "asked insistently" for her mother.
The boy is in hospital with a fractured leg while the girl is in serious condition. Another six-year-old survived the accident and is in hospital.
Another passenger who survived, Beatriz Reyes, 41, who was returning home after a holiday in South Africa, used a mobile telephone belonging to another surviving passenger to call her sister Laura to say she was alright.
"I noticed something was wrong with the plane. The other memory I have is that I lifted my head up and saw that the plane had no roof," she said.