Vintage Luftwaffe World War II plane crashes into the Swiss Alps, killing all 20 onboard

Vintage Luftwaffe World War II plane crashes into the Swiss Alps, killing all 20 onboard
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At least twenty people died after a vintage World War II aircraft crashed into a Swiss mountainside over the weekend, according to police officials.

Police spokesperson, Anita Senti, while addressing a press conference on Sunday, said: “The police have the sad certainty that the 20 people aboard perished.”

There were a total of eleven men and nine women on board the plane, including an Australian couple and their son, the spokesperson said, according to Reuters.

The aircraft, identified as Junker JU52 HB-HOT, was reportedly built in 1939 in Germany and was a collector’s item. The planed reportedly crashed into a 10,000-foot peak Piz Segnas on Saturday.

Senti said that the crash occurred at 2,540 meters on the mountain's western flank.

The plane 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, according to a German-language newspaper Blick.

The paper also quoted a witness of the crash, who said: “The plane turned 180 degrees to the south and fell to the ground like a stone.” The witness also added that the debris of the plane was scattered over a “very small area” which suggests that an explosion was possibly not the cause of the crash.

Police officials said that at least five helicopters were involved in a search and rescue mission. The officials added that the airspace over the crash site has been shut and will remain so until late Sunday.

ATS news agency report that the plane belonged to JU-Air, a company with links to the Swiss air force.

The aircraft company released a statement on its website, stating that it was “deeply saddened” and its “thoughts were with the passengers, the crew and families, and friends of the victims."

The company added that all its flight operations have been temporarily suspended, according to reports.

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