Sunday, 19 August, 2018

Swiss police confirm 20 dead in WWII vintage plane crash

Alps plane crash: 20 feared dead after sightseeing flight smashes into mountain | Daily Star Up to 20 feared dead after vintage plane crashes in the Swiss Alps
Ebony Burgess | 05 August, 2018, 21:58

Twenty people died when a vintage World War II aircraft crashed into a Swiss mountain at the weekend, police said Sunday, as an investigation was launched into why the plane plummeted straight down at high speed.

Police spokeswoman Anita Senti told reporters that it was with "sad certainty" that "the 20 people aboard perished".

Ju-Air's Ju-52 planes are former Swiss military aircraft, built in 1939, that were retired by the air force in 1981.

The wreckage of the plane was in a basin at 2,450 meters (8,000 feet) above sea level surrounded on three sides by peaks, a Reuters witness said.

Up to 20 people are feared dead after a small plane crashed in the Swiss Alps.

Authorities were informed of the crash at 5 p.m. Saturday, 50 minutes after the aircraft had taken off from Locarno's Magadino airfield.

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.

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Collision with another aircraft and hitting an obstacle have been ruled out as a potential cause.

Local media and aviation websites have reported that the plane, which seated 17 passengers along with two pilots and a flight attendant, was fully booked and that no one survived.

Ju-Air started operating flights with the old-timers in 1983, and the plane that crashed - with the registration HB-HOT - had been in service with the company since 1985.

Junkers JU-52 planes were manufactured between the 1930s and 1950s.

Chief executive and co-founder Kurt Waldmeier said the planes "are flown exclusively by very experienced professional pilots, and strictly checked and maintained by our own technicians".

"The JU-Air team is deeply saddened and is thinking of the passengers, the crew and families and friends of the victims", JU-Air wrote in a statement on its website Sunday.

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