Old-time plane crashes in Swiss Alps, killing 20 on board

Old-time plane crashes in Swiss Alps, killing 20 on board

Old-time plane crashes in Swiss Alps, killing 20 on board

"The police have the sad certainty that the 20 passengers perished", said a spokesperson for regional police in the canton of Grisons.

Police in southeastern Graubuenden canton (state) said a several-seater plane crashed Saturday on the Piz Segnas mountain above the Swiss Alpine resort of Flims, striking the mountain's western flank about 8,330 feet above sea level.

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

The 20 Minutes newspaper quoted a witness who was on the mountainside at the time of the crash.

Police said they were not aware of any distress call and had not yet determined the cause of the crash, which occurred hours after a family of four was killed when their small plane went down further west in the Alps.

"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.

The veteran plane is operated by Ju-Air, a company based in Duebendorf, near Zurich, that offers panoramic flights with old-time Junker Ju-52 planes.

The Junker JU52 is made of corrugated steel and was built by the German firm Junkers from the 1930s to 1950s.

On its website, JU-Air mentions one past accident, in 1987, at the Koblenz airport in Germany in which no one was hurt.

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