Old-time plane crashes in Swiss Alps, killing 20 on board

Hugh Fox
August 5, 2018

An aircraft manufactured in Germany some 80 years ago has crashed into a mountainside in eastern Switzerland, killing all the 20 people on board.

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

Ju-Air said one of its aircraft had been involved in the accident on Saturday.

Photos released by Graubuenden canton (state) police showed the crumpled wreckage of the plane lying on the mountain, with only the upside-down tail more or less intact.

Eleven men and nine women between the ages of 42 and 84 were killed. It was flying a group of 14 Swiss nationals and a three-member family from Austria on a sightseeing tour for the company JU-AIR.

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The aircraft was in possession of JU-Air, a company with links to the Swiss Air Force.

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

The cause of the crash, which occurred hours after a family of four was killed when their small plane went down further west in the Alps, is under investigation.

"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.

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Officials can essentially rule out a collision with another aircraft or an obstacle such as a wire, Knecht said.

The aircraft have three engines, one on the nose and one on each wing.

According to German-language newspaper Blick, the plane was full for the flight, suggesting that up to 20 people may be dead.

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

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