Twenty killed in plane crash in Swiss Alps

Frederick Owens
August 5, 2018

Swiss police say all 20 people aboard an old-time propeller plane were killed when the aircraft crashed into a mountainside in southeast Switzerland.

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

The Junker Ju-52 struck the Piz Segnas mountain's western flank about 2,540 meters (8,330 feet) above sea level, killing 17 passengers and three crew members, police revealed in a press conference Sunday. Most were from Switzerland but also a couple and their son from Austria.

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.

Ju-Air, a company which offers observation tours in the retro planes, said on Saturday that one of its aircraft was involved in an accident.

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Daniel Knecht of the Swiss Transportation Safety Investigation Board said the plane appears to have hit the ground near-vertically and at high speed.

Operator JU-Air said it was saddened by the news and it had set up a helpline for relatives.

It said it was suspending flights until further notice.

This file photograph taken on January 1, 1946, shows the first plane to land at the old Beirut airport, a Junkers 52 operated by Compagnie Generale des Transports, which eventually changed its name to Air Liban. It was used as a military transport plane as well as a bomber during World War II. No survivors have been found.

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