Vintage plane's crash in Switzerland killed all 20 on board, police say
05 August, 2018, 21:56 | Author: Orlando Hughes
"The police have the sad certainty that the 20 passengers perished", said a spokesperson for regional police in the canton of Grisons.
The plane crashed in a basin at 2,450 meters above sea level on the west side of the Piz Segnas mountain shortly before 5 pm (1500GMT) on Saturday. It was flying a group of 14 Swiss nationals and a three-member family from Austria on a sightseeing tour for the company JU-AIR.
According to the SwissInfo website, citing local police, the plane went down near the Piz Segnas mountain on the afternoon of August 4 at an altitude of 8,330 feet.
According to German-language newspaper Blick, the plane was full for the flight, suggesting that up to 20 people may be dead.
Authorities are investigating what caused the deadly crash.
The parents and two children crashed roughly 30 minutes after their plane took off from an airfield in Kägiswil, headed towards France, Swiss police said.
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"Based on the situation at the crash site we can say that the aircraft smashed into ground nearly vertically at relatively high speed", said Daniel Knecht of the Swiss Transportation Safety Investigation Board.
He said officials have essentially ruled out a collision with another aircraft or hitting an obstacle such as a wire.
He said that officials expect the investigation of the cause to be "relatively complex".
The crash occurred above the Swiss Alpine resort of Flims, an area popular with hikers and skiers.
JU-Air says it runs a small fleet of four Junker planes, all built in 1939, which are for hire. 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. Its pilots are ex-military and professional pilots, all volunteers. The airline suspended flights until further notice.
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