Published: Sun, August 05, 2018
Worldwide | By Lisa Hogan

Swiss vintage plane crash 'kills all 20 people on board'

Swiss vintage plane crash 'kills all 20 people on board'

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

A witness who was on the mountainside at the time of the crash told the 20 Minutes newspaper that "the plane turned 180 degrees to the south and fell to the ground like a stone".

Police said all onboard were killed in the crash.

Eleven men and nine women were killed. The three crew were Swiss, as were the passengers apart from one Austrian couple and their son.

The company's chief executive Kurt Waldmeier told the AFP news agency the plane had undergone a maintenance inspection in July.

Officials have said they were not aware of any distress call from the aircraft before the tragedy.

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.

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"What we can rule out at this point is that there had been a collision before the crash, neither with another aircraft nor with some other obstacle such as a cable".

There was no immediate word on the cause of the crash, and officials said they expect a complex investigation given that the 79-year-old plane was not equipped with black boxes.

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

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

The airline was established in 1982 and offers sightseeing, charter and adventure flights with its three mid-century Junkers Ju-52 aircraft decommissioned by the Swiss Air Force and known affectionately in German as "Auntie Ju" planes. "The JU-Air team is deeply saddened and thinks of the passengers, the crew and families and friends of the victims", the company said in a statement on its website.

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

FILE - In this September 1, 2004 photo, from left, the Tschingel Horn mountains, Atlas ridge and Mount Piz Segnas are pictured in Switzerland.

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