Family of four killed in small plane crash in Swiss forest

A general view of the accident site of a Junkers Ju-52 airplane of the local airline JU-AIR which crashed at 2,450 meters above sea level near the mountain resort of Flims Switzerland Aug 5 2018. Kantonspolizei Graubunden Handout via Reute

Officials said Sunday the vintage aircraft appeared to hit the ground near-vertically and at a high speed.

Police spokeswoman Anita Senti told reporters that it was with "sad certainty" that "the 20 people aboard perished".

The plane, which was on a flight between Locarno in southern Switzerland, to Dübendorf, a suburb of Zurich, was found about 2,540 meters (8,333 feet) above sea level.

Police in central Switzerland said that a small plane has crashed in a forest, killing several people.

Officials said 11 men and nine women were killed, most from Switzerland but also a couple and their son from Austria.

The wreckage was discovered engulfed in flames, and the cause of the crash is now being investigated by the Federal Prosecutor's Office, in cooperation with local Swiss authorities. Knecht said that while heat can affect an aircraft's performance, experienced pilots could deal with that.

A helicopter is seen above the accident site of a Junkers Ju-52 airplane of the local airline JU-AIR that is 2,450 meters above sea level near the mountain resort of Flims Switzerland Aug 5 2018. Reuters
Up to 20 feared dead after vintage plane crashes in the Swiss Alps

The Junker JU52 HB-HOT aircraft, built in Germany in 1939 and now a collectors item, belongs to JU-Air, a company with links to the Swiss air force, the ATS news agency reported.

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.

Junkers JU-52 planes were manufactured between the 1930s and 1950s. He said it had its full annual service during the winter, and "we know of no technical problems with this aircraft".

"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 in nearby Flims on Sunday.

The plane was operated by Ju-Air, a Swiss company that offers tours with vintage former Swiss military aircraft.

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