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European Heat Wave May Have Contributed To Swiss Ju 52 Accident

All 20 People On Board The 1939 Aircraft Fatally Injured

A Junkers Ju 52 airplane built in 1939 went down in Switzerland Saturday, resulting in the fatal injury of all 20 people on board.

USA Today reports that the plane impacted the western flank of Piz Segnas mountain at 8,300 feet. It was in a vertical dive when the impact occurred. The aircraft was about 50 minutes into a flight returning from the resort town of Locarno in southern Switzerland.

The temperature at the time of the accident was recorded at 94 degrees Fahrenheit. Daniel Knecht from the Swiss safety investigation agency said during a news conference that "high temperatures can affect the performance of an aircraft."

The 62-year-old pilot of the Ju 52 was very experienced, according to Kurt Waldmeier, co-founder of Ju-Air, the company that operated the flight. He said in a news conference that the pilot had more than 30 years experience flying for the airlines Swiss, Swissair and the Swiss Air Force. The 63-year-old copilot also had more than 30 years flying experience, Waldmeier said.

The airline executive also said that the plane was very well maintained, and had flown only five hours since its last maintenance.

Knecht said that there is no evidence of any outside interference, collision with cables or another aircraft, or in-flight breakup of the airplane.

There are fewer than 10 airworthy examples of the Ju 52. Swiss Ju-Air has suspended all flights until further notice, according to the report.

(Image from file)

FMI: Original report

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