Switzerland crash: 20 dead in WW2 plane crash

The cause of the crash is still under investigation

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

The bodies of the victims, 17 from Switzerland and three from Austria - believed to be an Austrian couple and their son - are still being recovered.

The airline was established in 1982 and offers sightseeing, charter and adventure flights with its three mid-century Junkers Ju-52 aircraft decommissioned by the Swiss Air Force and known affectionately in German as "Auntie Ju" planes.

The parents and two children crashed roughly 30 minutes after their plane took off from an airfield in Kägiswil, headed towards France, Swiss police said.

Daniel Knecht of the Swiss Transportation Safety Investigation Board told Blick in a news conference that the vintage aircraft may have hit the ground near-vertically at a high rate of speed.

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

The aircraft crashed about 2540m above sea level, on the western side of a 3000m peak called Piz Segnas.

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An investigation has been launched into the cause of the accident.

Swiss reports said the passengers were returning from Locarno, a holiday spot in southern Switzerland on Lake Maggiore, where they had arrived early Friday.

The crash occurred above the Swiss Alpine resort of Flims, an area popular with hikers and skiers.

The company's flight operations were suspended, it said.

They were produced in Germany between 1932 and 1952, serving both as passenger and military planes. Its pilots are ex-military and professional pilots, all of them volunteers.

The plane that crashed had logged 10,187 hours of flying time, he said, adding that it underwent maintenance after every 35 hours of flight - most recently at the end of July. Waldmeier said the pilots fly by sight along pre-planned routes.

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