Swiss police confirm 20 dead in WWII vintage plane crash

The plane crashed in a forest near Hergiswil

The plane crashed in a forest near Hergiswil

It left Locarno Air Base around 16h CET and was heading for the suburbs of Zurich when it crashed at an altitude of 2,540 metres.

Police said Sunday they have now determined that all 20 people on board the plane, including its three crew members, died.

The plane that crashed had its last maintenance check in late July, Waldmeier said, at which time no defects had been found.

"The JU-Air team is deeply saddened and is thinking of the passengers, the crew and families and friends of the victims", JU-Air said on its website on Sunday, Reuters reported.

Mount Piz Segnas and the Atlas, back right, are pictured in Switzerland where police say a several-seater plane crashed on the Piz Segnas mountain (file photo). Most were from Switzerland but also a couple and their son from Austria.

He said that officials expect the investigation of the cause to be "relatively complex".

JU-Air runs a small fleet of four Junker planes, all built in 1939 and operated by ex-military and professional pilots.

Mr Knecht said the vintage plane presumably did not have the crash-resistant cockpit voice and data recorders that more modern aircraft have.

The plane appeared to have hit the ground almost-vertically and at high speed, said Daniel Knecht of the Swiss transportation safety investigation board.

The airspace above the crash site was closed by the Federal Office for Civil Aviation and access to popular hiking trails in the surrounding area was blocked.

The company did not offer any further information.

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