A trimotor Junkers JU-52 aircraft, built in the late 1930’s as a military aircraft and later used to operate scenic and charter flights crashed in Swiss Alps shortly before 5 p.m. (1500 GMT) on Saturday on the west side of the Piz Segnas mountain in the canton of Grissons, Switzerland.
The plane had been returning from Locarno and three Austrians and 17 Swiss were on board. It crashed near vertically at high speed. They were all killed in the accident. The victims were aged between 42 and 84. Those killed were couples from the Swiss cantons of Zurich, Thurgau, Lucerne, Schwyz, Zug and Vaud, along with a three-member family from Austria and three crew members from Thurgau and Zurich. “Yesterday was the worst day in the 36-year history of JU-Air,” the airline’s Chief Executive Kurt Waldmeier said at a news conference.
One of the JU-52 olanes owned by the JU-Air airline
The old plane had not a black box flight recorder. It was the first time the JU-Air airline, based in Dübendorf, a suburb of Zurich, which was established in 1982, had experienced an accident that resulted in death or injury to passengers or crew members. The company offers sightseeing, charter and adventure flights with its three mid-century Junkers Ju-52 aircraft, which were decommissioned by the Swiss air force. The plane that crashed had its last maintenance check in late July. The cause of the crash is under investigation. Officials expect the investigation of the cause to be “relatively complex”. Nearly 5,000 Ju-52 planes, a product of Germany’s Junkers, were manufactured between 1932 and 1952.