Tourist plane crashes in Swiss Alps, 20 dead

05 August, 2018, 20:26 | Author: Charlene Valdez
  • Junkers crash Swiss Alps

It crashed into Piz Segnas, a 3,000-metre (10,000-foot) peak in the east of the country on Saturday at an altitude of 2,540 metres on the mountain's western flank, Senti said.

"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.

Police said that all 20 people on board the plane, including its three crew members, died.

Swiss police said five copters were involved in the search and rescue operation and the airspace over the crash site was to remain closed until late Sunday. Most of the victims were Swiss but they also included a couple and their son from Austria.

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It was the first time the airline had experienced an accident that resulted in death or injury to passengers or crew members, Waldmeier said.

Three Austrians and 17 Swiss were on board the trimotor JU-52 aircraft, built in the late 1930's as a military aircraft and later used to operate scenic and charter flights, when it crashed shortly before 5 p.m. (1500 GMT) on Saturday on the west side of the Piz Segnas mountain in the canton of Grissons.

The mountainous area in south-eastern Switzerland is popular with hikers and skiers and includes a glacier.

The Ju-52 aircraft, made by Germany's Junkers, were made between 1932 and 1952.

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Earlier on Saturday, a small plane carrying two parents and their two children crashed in the nearby canton of Nidwalden. Waldmeier said the pilots fly by sight along pre-planned routes.

A brochure on the company's website listed the cost of the 2-day Locarno trip as 1,130 francs ($1,136), including meals and a night in a hotel.

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

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