Geneva : Twenty people died after a vintage World War II aircraft crashed into a Swiss mountainside at the weekend, police said on Sunday. “The police have the sad certainty that the 20 people aboard perished,” police spokeswoman Anita Senti told media.
There were 11 men and nine women aboard, including an Austrian couple and their son, she said.
The Junker JU52 HB-HOT aircraft, built in Germany in 1939 and now a collectors’ item, crashed into Piz Segnas, a 3,000-m peak in the country’s east on Saturday.
The crash occurred at 2,540 metres on the mountain’s western flank, Senti said.
According to German-language newspaper Blick, the flight had taken off from Ticino in the south of the country and had been due to land at the Duebendorf military airfield near Zurich on Saturday afternoon. The 20 Minutes newspaper quoted a witness who was on the mountainside during the crash.
“The plane turned 180 degrees to the south and fell to the ground like a stone,” the witness said, adding the debris was scattered over “a very small area”, indicating an explosion was unlikely to have been the cause of the crash.