Twenty killed as wartime plane crashes in Alps

05 August, 2018, 21:56 | Author: Lucy Floyd
  • According to JU-AIR a Ju-52 airplane which seats 17 passengers along with two pilots had crashed

Eleven men and nine women were killed, officials said.

The bodies of the victims, 17 from Switzerland and three from Austria - believed to be an Austrian couple and their son - are still being recovered.

The plane was operated by Ju-Air, a Swiss company that offers tours with vintage former Swiss military aircraft.

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.

The plane that crashed had its last maintenance check in late July, Waldmeier said, at which time no defects had been found.

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

Speaking Sunday at a news conference in Flims, he said the vintage plane presumably didn't have the crash-resistant cockpit voice and data recorders that more modern aircraft have.

Knecht said officials expect the investigation of the cause to be "relatively complex, because we have to compare various indications, information and evidence and evaluate them".

Police in southeastern Graubuenden canton said the JU-Air's JU-52 HB-HOT aircraft crashed on the Piz Segnas mountain above the Swiss Alpine resort of Flims, a place popular with hikers.

Swiss reports said the passengers were returning from Locarno, a holiday spot in southern Switzerland on Lake Maggiore, where they had arrived early Friday. The heat makes air thinner, increasing the burden on the aircraft.

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JU-Air says it runs a small fleet of four Junker planes, all built in 1939, which are for hire.

Each of the pilots flying it had over 30 years of experience in both the military and civilian sector.

The aircraft have three engines, one on the nose and one on each wing. We can not guarantee that it is suitable for the visually or hearing impaired.

Operator JU-Air has now suspended all flights until further notice.

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