World

Switzerland crash: Up to 20 feared dead as WW2 plane crash

Switzerland crash: Up to 20 feared dead as WW2 plane crash

The incident happened yesterday when the plane crashed in a basin at 2,450m above sea level on the west side of the Piz Segnas mountain shortly before 5pm local time.

"One can ascertain that the aircraft hit the ground almost vertically at high speed", Daniel Knecht, who heads the aviation division of the Swiss Transportation Safety Investigation Board, said.

Police said Sunday they have now determined that all 20 people on board the plane, including its three crew members, died.

The plane, which was on a flight between Locarno in southern Switzerland, to Dübendorf, a suburb of Zurich, was found about 2,540 meters (8,333 feet) above sea level.

On Sunday, Swiss officials said they were unaware that any distress call had been sent out from the plane, and said they expected the investigation into the cause to be "relatively complex".

Deceased passengers include Swiss citizens and a three-person family from Austria, police say.

Almost 5,000 Ju-52 planes, a product of Germany's Junkers, were manufactured between 1932 and 1952.

Authorities are investigating what caused the deadly crash.

The crash occurred above the Swiss Alpine resort of Flims, an area popular with hikers and skiers. Knecht said that while heat can affect an aircraft's performance, experienced pilots could deal with that.

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

"Yesterday was the worst day in the 36-year history of JU-Air", the airline's Chief Executive Kurt Waldmeier said at a news conference in nearby Flims on Sunday.

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


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