Twenty killed in plane crash in Swiss Alps

Twenty killed in plane crash in Swiss Alps

Twenty killed in plane crash in Swiss Alps

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

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".

It crashed about 2,540m (8,333 ft) above sea level, on the western side of a 3,000m peak called Piz Segnas.

Eleven men, nine women were killed, officials told Swiss news website 20min.ch.

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.

The mountainous area in southeastern Switzerland is popular with hikers and skiers and includes a glacier.

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

JU-52 HB-HOT aircraft does not have a crash-resistant cockpit voice and data recorders because it is an older model.

"What we can rule out at this point is that there had been a collision before the crash, neither with another aircraft nor with some other obstacle such as a cable".

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. Its pilots are ex-military and professional pilots, all of them volunteers.

It said it was suspending flights until further notice.

JU-Air runs sightseeing tours on its squadron of German-made vintage aircraft.

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