At least 21 people were killed and 40 were injured when a Spanair passenger jet crashed on takeoff at Madrid airport on Wednesday, a source at the Spanish emergency services said, according to Reuters.

Local media reports of the death toll varied widely, with one report suggesting it could be as high as 50, after the MD-82 jet shot off the runway carrying 160 passengers.

Flight JK5022 had been bound for Las Palmas in the Canary Islands. A large cloud of smoke rose above Terminal Four after the crash.

Spanair is a subsidiary of Scandinavian Airlines Systems (SAS).

Reuters