Vintage plane's crash in Switzerland killed all 20 on board, police say

Alps plane crash: 20 feared dead after sightseeing flight smashes into mountain | Daily Star

The company "still can not explain" the incident, they said, pledging to support the official investigation.

The bodies of the victims, 17 from Switzerland and three from Austria - believed to be an Austrian couple and their son - are still being recovered.

The company JU-AIR had bought three of the vintage Junkers propeller aircraft, which are known affectionately in German as "Auntie Ju" planes.

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

He said hot weather conditions did not contribute to the crash and that the aircraft fell nearly vertically out of the sky at relatively high speed.

Knecht also said the 79-year-old plane was most likely not equipped with crash-resistant data recorders that more modern aircraft have.

He also said there is no indication of foul play or that the aircraft lost parts or broke up before the crash.

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The wreckage of the plane was in a basin at 2,450 meters (8,000 feet) above sea level surrounded on three sides by peaks, a Reuters witness said.

The plane was flying the passengers back from a two-day trip to Locarno in southern Switzerland to its base at Duebendorf, near Zurich.

The cause of crash is now being investigated by the Federal Prosecutor's Office, in partnership with local Swiss authorities. The heat makes air thinner, increasing the burden on the aircraft.

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.

Almost 5,000 Ju-52 planes were manufactured between 1932 and 1952. Its pilots are ex-military and professional pilots, all of them volunteers. Waldmeier said the pilots fly by sight along pre-planned routes.

Ju-Air offers "adventure flights" for people wanting to experience Switzerland's landscape from vintage planes. JU-AIR also suspended flights with the remaining two Ju-52s until further notice.

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