Swiss vintage plane crash 'kills all 20 people on board'

Swiss vintage plane crash 'kills all 20 people on board'

Swiss vintage plane crash 'kills all 20 people on board'

Twenty people died after a vintage World War II aircraft crashed into a Swiss mountainside, according to police.

Authorities have provided few details about those on board JU-Air's plane which crashed on the west side of the Piz Segnas mountain in the canton of Graubuenden on August 4.

The aircraft was a Junker JU52 HB-HOT plane, built in Germany in 1939 and now a collectors' item.

The doomed aircraft had departed from Ticino in southern Switzerland and was bound for Duebendorf military airfield near the city of Zurich when it crashed into the mountainside at an altitude of 2,450 meters (8,000 feet) above sea level on the west side of the Piz Segnas mountain shortly before 5 p.m. local time (1500 GMT).

In another crash over the weekend, a family of four including two young children were killed when a small plane came down in central Switzerland.

Although there were eyewitnesses to the crash, the BBC's Imogen Foulkes says that the investigation into what happened will take time.

He said hot weather conditions did not contribute to the crash and that the aircraft fell nearly vertically out of the sky at relatively high speed.

Officials said Sunday they weren't aware of any distress call made from the plane, adding that the investigation into the crash is expected to be "relatively complex" - though there's no indication of foul play.

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

The airspace above the crash site was closed by the Federal Office for Civil Aviation and access to popular hiking trails in the surrounding area was blocked.

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

The company's flight operations were suspended, it said. "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. Its pilots are ex-military and professional pilots, all volunteers.

It said it was suspending flights until further notice.

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