Glider and plane collided mid-air over Swiss Alps, report finds

The site of the glider and plane crashes above Bivio in eastern Switzerland. Graubünden cantonal police

The glider and small light aircraft that crashed in high mountains in south-eastern Switzerland last month, resulting in five deaths, collided mid-air, an investigation has revealed.

This content was published on July 13, 2021 - 12:04

On Tuesday, the Swiss Transportation Safety Investigation Board (STSB), which has been probing the fatal accidents, said that the glider and plane had collided on June 12 at an altitude of 3,200 metres above Bivio in canton Graubünden.

The planes hit the ground below the point of impact and were found about one kilometre apart, the STSB said in its preliminary report.

The glider pilot – a 51-year-old man from Zurich - and the two light aircraft pilots from Neuchâtel, aged 44 and 72, died together with the plane passengers – a 41-year-old woman and her six-year-old son, both French citizens living in canton Vaud.

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The glider had taken off from the village of Amlikon in eastern Switzerland. The Robin DR400 light aircraft meanwhile had left Colombier in canton Neuchâtel with the four people on board.

The Swiss emergency rescue service Rega contacted the police to inform them about the glider crash. However, at the time it was impossible to access the crash site located at 2,700 metres due to poor weather. Rescue teams were only able to travel to the site of the crashed glider the following day, where they discovered also discovered the small aircraft.

Plane crashes with five or more fatalities are rare in Switzerland. In 2018, a vintage Ju-52 plane crashed near Flims in canton Graubünden killing all 20 passengers.

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