Swiss Alps WWII Sightseeing Plane Crash Kills 20, Second Crash in Hours

swiss alps crash

JU-Air media image Swiss sightseeing plane crash in the Alps kills 20. JU-Air's image of the WW II-era Junkers aka "Aunite Ju"" aircraft/

According to JU-Air one of its sightseeing planes crashed Saturday in the Swiss Alps. The airline said is was “deeply saddened and thinks of the passengers, the crew and families and friends of the victims.” It’s presumed all 20 on board are dead.

Reuters reported, the single-engine aluminum prop plane first built in 1930, “crashed on the west side of the Piz Segnas mountain in the canton of Graubuenden on Saturday.Local media and aviation websites have reported that the plane, which seated 17 passengers along with two pilots and a flight attendant, was fully booked and that no one survived.”

JU-Air has suspended operations “until further notice” it said on its website. It provided a Swiss telephone number as a “helpline for relatives: 081 257 77 77.”

JU-Air held an official briefing Sunday. The complete translated press release with plane maintenance data. pilot and crew information and specific crash details is below.

Reuters reported that authorities “confirmed that the crashed plane was JU-Air’s JU-52 HB-HOT aircraft,” and reported that aviation websites indicted the plane was returning to the airline in Duebendorf, Zurich.

The remains of the WW II-era aircraft, a Junkers Ju-52 dubbed an “Auntie Ju” in German, was seen and photographed by Reuters as being in a deep basin surrounded on all sides. Rescue personnel and helicopters were at the scene.

Another crash of a small plane carrying a family of four and flying in the Alps, albeit futher west of the JU-Air flight, occurred just hours before.

Both crashes are under investiagtion, local media reported.

According to the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum collections site, the craft, known in Germany as Tante Ju (Auntie Ju) …is one of the most successful European airliners ever made.”

Built for 17 and tons of cargo, “…by the mid-1930s, airlines throughout Europe and Latin America were flying them. In World War II, they were the Luftwaffe’s primary transports, and some served as bombers.”

JU Air crash

JU Air media photo

Less than 5,000 were built.

From Ju-Air Sunday at noon, EST:

Flims / Dübendorf, August 5, 2018.

“In the accident of a JU-52 of the JU-AIR on Saturday, August 4 were killed all occupants of the historic plane. The machine was 79 years old and was last serviced at the end of July. Both pilots were extremely experienced. The JU-AIR commemorates the accident victim and her relatives and friends.

“August 4, 2018 is the black day in the history of JU-AIR,” said JU-AIR founder and CEO Kurt Waldmeier on Sunday in front of the media in Flims (GR). “We are deeply saddened by the accident and think of the 17 passengers, our three crew members and the families and friends of the victims. We express our heartfelt condolences to you. We have all suffered a very big loss. ”

About the JU-AIR and the JU-52

The Association of Friends of the Swiss Air Force (VFL) has been flying three historic JU-52s since 1983 with the JU-AIR. The JU -52 is a three-engined aircraft, which was built by the Junkers-werken in Germany from the thirties to the fifties.
The Swiss Air Force operated the JU-52 to 1981. After their withdrawal, the Association of Friends of the Swiss Air Force has decided to take over three machines and carry out flights with them.
The machines of JU-AIR are flown exclusively by highly experienced professional pilots and strictly controlled and maintained by their own technicians. Since 1983, the JU-AIR had recorded no injuries with injuries.

About the JU-52 «HB-HOT»

The accident machine was built in 1939 (79 years ago) and flew 10’187 hours until the accident.

The JU-52 is technically tightly controlled, not least because of its age. It has to be serviced every 35 flying hours. Her last regular maintenance took place in late July.

Last year’s overhaul took place last winter. There are no known technical problems with this aircraft.

About the Crew

The flight from Saturday was carried out by two flight captains. The two pilots are former line pilots and pilots of the Swiss Air Force.

One captain was 62 years old and a line pilot for more than 30 years. He flew more than 30 years with Swissair and Swiss, most recently as captain on Airbus A330 and A340. In the Air Force he flew a total of 28 years as a military pilot. Since 2004 he regularly flew JU -52 JU-AIR. He already had 943 flight hours on the pattern, making him one of the most experienced JU-AIR pilots. He leaves his longtime life partner.

The second captain was 63 years old and has been with JU-AIR since 2013; He had 297 hours of flight experience on the JU-52. He was a military air force pilot for 30 years and a 30-year line pilot at Swissair, Swiss and Edelweiss, most recently as captain on the Airbus A330 and A340. He leaves his wife and two sons.

Our flight attendant was 66 years old and had more than 40 years experience as a flight attendant. She joined the JU-AIR in 2002. She leaves her partner.

About the Flight

The crashed machine flew on Friday, 3. August from Dübendorf to Locarno. There are no known special events.
On Saturday, 4 August at 16:10 clock the machine started in Locarno for the return flight to Dübendorf. On board were 14 passengers from Switzerland and three from Austria, as well as the three-person crew.
The pilots of the JU-52 fly to view. That is, they navigate for maps and comply with prescribed minimum altitudes and distances from clouds.

The route of each flight is previously planned by the pilots. Weather, winds, temperatures and the weight of the machine play a role here. If conditions require, the flight path will be adjusted, for example to avoid clouds.

How it came to Piz Segnas tragic disaster is unclear. JU-AIR supports the investigation authorities to the best of its ability. Nobody has as much interest as JU-AIR, that the causes are cleared up, so that such a misfortune can never happen again.

Kurt Waldmeier is a flight captain and was co-founder of the JU-AIR in 1982, which he has been directing ever since. He flew more than 5,000 hours on the JU-52.

This is a developing story.

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