An Airbus A400M military transport plane has crashed in southern Spain, killing four people and seriously injuring two, emergency services have said.

According to authorities, six people were on board the test flight when it crashed into a field on Saturday, some 1.6km north of Seville's San Pablo airport.

Mariano Rajoy, the Spanish prime minister, was the first to confirm the crash, offering his condolences to the families of the all-Spanish crew. Rajoy later visited the families in Seville and said the crash was a blow to an industry that was important to Spain - and to Europe.

"I hope there will be maximum transparency when explanations are made as to what happened here. That's what I'm going to ask of Airbus," Rajoy said.

The European aircraft maker said the transport plane, which is assembled in Seville, had been ordered by Turkey and the company had sent a team to the crash site.

If confirmed as an accident, it would be the first since the aircraft, which was fraught by development and shipping delays, went into service.

The A400M Atlas was developed for Spain and six other European NATO nations - Belgium, Britain, France, Germany, Luxembourg, and Turkey - at a cost of $22.4bn, in Europe's largest joint defence project.

British and German defence ministries both announced after Saturday's accident that they were suspending the use of their Airbus A400Ms, as a precaution.

Source: Agencies