Vintage German Ju-52 Crashes in Swiss Alps

Airplane’s age and location will make the investigation difficult.

Following the crash of a WWII vintage German Junkers Ju-52, JU-Air has suspended all flights until further notice.JU-Air

A WWII vintage German Junkers Ju-52 crashed in the Swiss Alps on Saturday, killing all 20 people on board. The 79-year-old aircraft, operated by the "adventure flight" company, JU-Air, was flying from Locarno, in southern Switzerland, when it crashed into Piz Segnas mountain. There were 17 passengers and three crew members on the aircraft, CBS News and The Guardian reported. The cause of the crash is unknown at this time.

"The JU-Air team is deeply saddened and thinks of the passengers, the crew and families and friends of the victims," the company said in a statement posted to their website.

The accident investigation will be difficult because the Ju-52 did not have a cockpit voice or data recorders and was flying in an area without regular radar tracking, explained Daniel Knecht of the Swiss Transportation Safety Investigation Board. "We can assume the aircraft hit the ground near-vertically and at relatively high speed," Knecht said.

Knecht also said that a collision with another aircraft or obstacle is not likely to be the cause of the accident. No “external influence” such as “foul play” is suspected. In addition, the airplane did not catch fire before or after the crash, and investigators have not found any evidence of the aircraft breaking up, or losing parts in the air.

JU-Air has suspended all flights until further notice.