Twenty dead as tourist plane crashes into mountainside

05 August, 2018, 20:23 | Author: Bert Pena
  • Junkers crash Swiss Alps

The Swiss news website 20min.ch quoted police spokeswoman Anita Senti as saying that police now know all 20 people on the Junkers Ju-52 propeller plane died in the crash on Saturday near the Alpine resort of Flims.

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

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

It crashed about 2,540m (8,333 ft) above sea level, on the western side of a 3,000m peak called Piz Segnas. Most were from Switzerland but also a couple and their son from Austria.

The mountainous area in southeastern Switzerland is popular with hikers and skiers and includes a glacier.

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The wreckage was discovered engulfed in flames, and the cause of the crash is now being investigated by the Federal Prosecutor's Office, in cooperation with local Swiss authorities.

The plane that crashed had its last maintenance check in late July, Waldmeier said, at which time no defects had been found. Knecht said that while heat can affect an aircraft's performance, experienced pilots could deal with that.

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.

The company's flight operations were suspended, it said. The JU-Air airline operated three of the vintage planes - decommissioned by the Swiss Air Force and affectionately known as "Auntie Ju" planes - as part of sightseeing tours, Reuters reported.

It said it was suspending flights until further notice.

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