Vintage Plane Crashes in Swiss Alps: 20 Feared Dead

Geneva Stokes
August 5, 2018

Police in central Switzerland said that a small plane has crashed in a forest, killing several people.

All 20 people on board were killed, police said Sunday, Aug. 5, 2018. The three crew were Swiss, as were the passengers apart from one Austrian couple and their son.

The JU-Air airline operated three of the vintage planes - decommissioned by the Swiss Air Force and affectionately known as "Auntie Ju" planes - as part of sightseeing tours, Reuters reported.

The plane that crashed had its last maintenance check in late July, Waldmeier said, at which time no defects had been found.

Officials said Sunday they weren't aware of any distress call made from the plane, adding that the investigation into the crash is expected to be "relatively complex" - though there's no indication of foul play.

Authorities are investigating what caused the deadly crash.

Officials said Sunday the vintage aircraft appeared to hit the ground near-vertically and at a high speed.

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Collision with another aircraft and hitting an obstacle have been ruled out as a potential cause.

The airspace above the crash site was closed by the Federal Office for Civil Aviation and access to popular hiking trails in the surrounding area was blocked.

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 says it runs a small fleet of four Junker planes, all built in 1939, which are for hire.

But Seventeen passengers, two pilots, and a flight attendant lost their lives in the accident, said police on August 5, according to Swiss news website Blick.

Each of the pilots flying it had over 30 years of experience in both the military and civilian sector. JU-AIR also suspended flights with the remaining two Ju-52s until further notice.

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