Vintage World War II plane crashes in Switzerland, 20 feared dead

Two Planes Crash Hours Apart In Swiss Alps 23 Dead

The plane - a Junker JU-52 HB-HOT - can carry up to 17 passengers and three crew.

It left Locarno Air Base around 16h CET and was heading for the suburbs of Zurich when it crashed at an altitude of 2,540 metres.

The plane did not catch on fire before or after it hit the mountain, and investigators have not found any signs the aircraft lost parts or broke up in the air before the crash, Knecht said.

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 and nine women between the ages of 42 and 84 were killed.

A witness told Reuters the plane wreckage was in a basin.

Speaking at a news conference on Sunday in the Alpine resort of Flims, near the crash site, Knecht said the vintage plane presumably didn't have the crash- resistant cockpit voice and data recorders that more modern aircraft have.

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The mountainous area in south-eastern Switzerland is popular with hikers and skiers and includes a glacier. Most of the people killed were from Switzerland, along with an Austrian couple and their son.

Daniel Knech of the Swiss safety investigation service SESE said the crew did not have time to send out a distress signal.

He said officials have essentially ruled out a collision with another aircraft or hitting an obstacle such as a wire.

Authorities are investigating what caused the deadly crash.

Ju-Air, which offers flights from Junkers Ju-52 planes, said one of its vehicles was involved in the incident. Its pilots are ex-military and professional pilots, all of them volunteers. It has suspended all flights until further notice.

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

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