Swiss police confirm 20 dead in WWII vintage plane crash

According to JU-AIR a Ju-52 airplane which seats 17 passengers along with two pilots had crashed

According to JU-AIR a Ju-52 airplane which seats 17 passengers along with two pilots had crashed

The Ju-52 aircraft, made by Germany's Junkers, were made between 1932 and 1952.

The plane crashed in a basin at 2,450 metres above sea level on the west side of the Piz Segnas mountain shortly before 5pm on Saturday (11pm Saturday Singapore time).

The fully booked plane was flying the passengers back to its base at Duebendorf, near Zurich, from a two-day trip to Switzerland's Italian-speaking southern Ticino region.

Just hours before the Ju-52 crash, a family of four was killed when their small plane went down in the Alps, but it was located further west.

Authorities are investigating what caused the deadly crash.

"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.

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

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Photos released by Graubuenden canton (state) police showed the crumpled wreckage of the plane lying on the mountain, with only the upside-down tail more or less intact.

JU-Air said on its website that it was "deeply saddened" and its "thoughts were with the passengers, the crew and families and friends of the victims".

The company's flight operations were suspended, it said.

Almost 5,000 Ju-52 planes, a product of Germany's Junkers, were manufactured between 1932 and 1952. Its pilots are ex-military and professional pilots, all of them volunteers. It was used as a military transport plane as well as a bomber during World War II.

In another Swiss plane crash yesterday, a tourist plane carrying a couple and two young children crashed in a forest in the Nidwald canton and immediately burst into flames. No survivors have been found in that incident.

According to German-language newspaper Blick, the plane was full for the flight, suggesting that up to 20 people may be dead.

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