Vintage plane's crash in Switzerland killed all 20 on board, police say

05 August, 2018, 21:58 | Author: Clarence Schmidt
  • Alps plane crash: 20 feared dead after sightseeing flight smashes into mountain | Daily Star

Eleven men and nine women were killed, officials said.

Among those killed were 17 people from Switzerland and a three-person family from Austria.

JU-Air runs a small fleet of four Junker planes, all built in 1939 and operated by ex-military and professional pilots.

Swiss police said five copters were involved in the search and rescue operation and the airspace over the crash site was to remain closed until late Sunday.

"Based on the situation at the crash site we can say that the aircraft smashed into ground nearly vertically at relatively high speed", said Daniel Knecht of the Swiss Transportation Safety Investigation Board.

"The plane turned 180 degrees to the south and fell to the ground like a stone", the witness said, adding that the debris was scattered over "a very small area", indicating an explosion was unlikely the cause of the crash.

Knech also ruled out the idea that the plane had hit an object, such as a cable or another aircraft.


The cause of crash is now being investigated by the Federal Prosecutor's Office, in partnership with local Swiss authorities.

According to the SwissInfo website, citing local police, the plane went down near the Piz Segnas mountain on the afternoon of August 4 at an altitude of 8,330 feet.

The fully booked plane was flying the passengers back to its base at Duebendorf, near Zurich, from a two-day trip to Switzerland's Italian-speaking southern Ticino region. Knecht said that while heat can affect an aircraft's performance, experienced pilots could deal with that.

Junkers JU-52 planes were manufactured between the 1930s and 1950s. He said it had its full annual service during the winter, and "we know of no technical problems with this aircraft". "The JU-Air team is deeply saddened and thinks of the passengers, the crew and families and friends of the victims", the company said in a statement on its website.

"We can not yet explain what led to the tragic accident on Piz Segnas", he said.

The company, which operates two other Ju-52s, suspended flights until further notice after the crash.

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