Agencies MADRID  - A Spanish tourist jet, which was carrying 175 passengers and bound for the Canary Islands, careered off runway, crashed, burnt and broke into pieces Wednesday while trying to take off from Madrid's Barajas airport, killing 151 people on board, officials said. There were only 24 survivors in the mid-afternoon crash, a Spanish emergency official said. A police officer said the bodies were so hot that police could barely touch them and told El Pais newspaper the shattered wreckage bore no resemblance to a plane. The authorities earlier issued a provisional toll saying there were at least 45 dead and 40 injured - making it one of the worst air disasters in Europe in recent years. A spokesman said 15 of those injured were in serious condition. The airport cancelled departures after the crash and restricted the number of flights arriving. About 30 incoming flights were delayed by up to seven hours. Spanish national radio said 146 people died and 26 people were injured in the disaster. The Spanair MD-82 made an emergency landing just after taking off from the airport heading for Las Palmas in the Canary Islands, according to an airport authority spokesman. Spanish media said an engine caught fire as it took off. Dozens of ambulances rushed to the site as columns of smoke billowed from the wreckage. The prime minister broke off his vacation in southern Spain and rushed back to Madrid, heading straight for the airport. "I have never seen anything like this in my life," ambulance driver Luis Ferreras was quoted as saying by El Pais. A Spanish emergency rescue official said only 26 people survived the crash and the rest of those aboard were given up for dead. The official with the SAMUR municipal rescue service gave the toll after touring the site of the crash. He spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because of department rules that barred him from giving his name. Spanair Flight JK5022 - bound for the popular Canary Islands off the West African coast during the height of Europe's summer vacation season - sped off the end of the runway, crashed and broke into pieces, reports said. Spanair spokesman Sergio Allard told a news conference the plane was carrying 175 people and the cause of the crash was not immediately known. El Pais said the plane's takeoff had been an hour late due to technical problems. It eventually managed to get slightly off the ground but crashed near the end of the runway, El Pais said, quoting an employee of the national airport authority AENA. Helicopters and fire trucks dumped water on the plane, which ended up in a wooded area at the end of the runway at Terminal 4. A makeshift morgue was set up at the city's main convention centre, officials said. The plane was a Boeing MD-82 on a codeshare flight to Las Palmas with Lufthansa's LH255, Spanair said. Departures from Madrid's airport were suspended for several hours but later resumed. Boeing spokesman Jim Proulx said the company would send at least one person to assist in the investigation of the crash as soon as it receives an invitation from Spanish authorities. "We stand ready to provide technical assistance," he said, reading from a prepared statement.