Switzerland crash: 20 dead in WW2 plane crash

Switzerland crash: 20 dead in WW2 plane crash

Switzerland crash: 20 dead in WW2 plane crash

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.

All 20 people on board were killed, police said Sunday, Aug. 5, 2018.

The plane was built in 1939 and can carry up to 17 passengers and three crew members. Most of the people killed were from Switzerland, along with an Austrian couple and their son.

The Junkers Ju-52 plane, operated by small Swiss company Ju-Air, went down Saturday on the Piz Segnas mountain above the Alpine resort of Flims in the country's southeast, at an altitude of about 2,540 meters (8,330 feet) above sea level. No reason for the crash has so far been given.

Police had not provided an official toll by late Sunday morning, but said that five helicopters were involved in a search and rescue mission and the airspace over the crash site was to remain closed until late Sunday.

"Basically, the age of the plane has nothing to do with flight safety, as long the aircraft is properly maintained", Knecht was quoted by Switzerland's Blick.ch as saying.

The airline was established in 1982 and offers sightseeing, charter and adventure flights with its three mid-century Junkers Ju-52 aircraft decommissioned by the Swiss Air Force and known affectionately in German as "Auntie Ju" planes.

A JU-AIR representative stated that the destroyed plane was maintained regularly and had no technical issues.

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".

Eleven men and nine women were killed, officials said.

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

Earlier on Saturday, a small plane carrying a family of four, including two young children, crashed near the town of Hergiswil, some 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) south of Lucerne in central Switzerland.

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