GENEVA: Up to 20 people are feared dead after a vintage World War II aircraft crashed into a Swiss mountainside, local reports said today.
The Junker JU52 HB-HOT aircraft, built in Germany in 1939 and now a collectors’ item, belongs to JU-Air, a company with links to the Swiss air force, the ATS news agency reported. Police has called a news conference.
The Junker plane, which can carry up to 17 passengers and three crew, crashed into the Piz Segnas mountain in the east of the country on Saturday, at an altitude of around 2,500 meters (8,200 feet).
According to German-language newspaper Blick, the plane was full for the flight, suggesting that up to 20 people may be dead. The flight had taken off from Ticino in the south of the country, Blick added and had been due to land at the Duebendorf military airfield near Zurich on Saturday afternoon.
The 20 Minutes newspaper quoted a witness who was on the mountainside at the time of the crash. “The plane turned 180 degrees to the south and fell to the ground like a stone,” the witness said, adding that the debris was scattered over “a very small area,” indicating an explosion was unlikely the cause of the crash.
Police had not provided an official toll by late Sunday morning but said that five helicopters were involved in a search and rescue mission and the airspace over the crash site was to remain closed until late Sunday.
JU-Air said on its website that it was “deeply saddened” and its “thoughts were with the passengers, the crew and families, and friends of the victims”. The company’s flight operations were suspended, it said. JU-Air says it runs a small fleet of four Junker planes, all built in 1939, which are for hire. Its pilots are ex-military and professional pilots, all of them volunteers.
On its website, JU-Air mentions one past accident, in 1987, at the Koblenz airport in Germany in which nobody was hurt. In another Swiss plane crash on Saturday, a tourist plane carrying a couple and two young children crashed in a forest in the Nidwald canton and immediately burst into flames. No survivors have been found.
DG ISPR briefs British parliamentarians
LONDON: Director General Inter-Services Public Relations, Major General Asif Ghafoor here on Tuesday visited British Parliament and briefed the parliamentarians about the Pakistan Army’s role in the war against terrorism.
He visited the British Parliament at the invitation of the parliamentarians of House of Commons and House of Lords, a statement of Pakistan High Commission said.
The parliamentarians highly appreciated the role of Pakistan in the war against terrorism. Lord Nazir Ahmed and Baroness Syeeda Warsi were also present on the occasion.
Salvini, Macron clash after France caught migrant dumping
ROME: Italy’s far-right Interior Minister Matteo Salvini hit out at President Emmanuel Macron after French police were caught committing the “unprecedented offense” of dumping migrants in Italian woods.
Salvini, also deputy prime minister and head of the anti-immigrant League party, on Monday, demanded a “clear response” after French authorities admitted to returning migrants to Italy in “error”.
A French police van was seen on Friday driving into Italy to return recently-arrived migrants to the town of Claviere.
“It was an error to enter Italian territory without the authorization of the Italian police,” said Cecile Bigot-Dekeyzer, the top official in the Hautes-Alpes region.
“The police had no right to enter Italian territory,” the prefect said.
An outraged Salvini batted away that explanation, while France said the incident should be “kept in perspective”.
“Abandoning migrants in an Italian wood can’t be just a mistake or an incident,” Salvini said on social media. “What happened in Claviere is an unprecedented offense towards our country.”
“Does Paris, which claims to be civil, find it normal to throw people into the woods?… We’re dealing with an international shame, and Mr. Macron can’t pretend he doesn’t know. We won’t accept any excuses,” Salvini wrote.
– ‘It was a mistake’ –
“Let’s keep this in perspective,” an official in the French president’s office told journalists on Tuesday.
“It was a mistake, the authorities have admitted that. There was an incursion, not planned or according to the procedure, into Italian territory, where two people were dropped off.”
Thousands of migrants are caught each year trying to enter France and returned to the Italian border. Last year AFP journalists saw French police dropping off migrants in front of Bardonecchia train station, in Italy.
A source close to Macron slammed Salvini’s “essentially individual political exploitation” of the incident.
Italian Prime Minister “Giuseppe Conte hasn’t turned this incident into proof of a crisis,” the French presidency said.
“We manage our shared border together and there are occasional small regrettable incidents on both sides.”
Relations between Rome and Paris have been increasingly tense in recent months, with Italy’s populist government accusing France and others of failing to share the burden of the 700,000 migrants and asylum seekers that have crossed the Mediterranean to come to Italy since 2013.
French police in March sparked outrage by carrying out identity checks at Bardonecchia station, with the Italian foreign ministry summoning the French ambassador to protest.
In June, Macron criticized Salvini for closing Italian ports to the Aquarius migrant rescue boat, prompting a fresh summoning of the ambassador.
German business delegation due on 22nd Oct.
KARACHI: A thirty-member business delegation from Germany -representing important sectors like energy, engineering, security technology, financial services, and construction- will be on a two-day visit to Karachi, from 22ns October.
This delegation was the result of joint efforts by Bavarian Ministry of Economic Affairs, Energy and Technology; Pakistan Embassy in Berlin with support of Dr. Poetis, who is Honorary Consul General of Pakistan in Munich; the Embassy of Germany in Pakistan and the German Consulate in Karachi, President GPCCI, Qazi Sajid Ali told APP here today.
On the first day, German-Pakistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry has arranged a conference on the trade and investment opportunities in Germany and Pakistan. Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah is expected to inaugurate this programme.
Then, the delegation would visit Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Trade Development Authority of Pakistan, Sindh Board of Investment, Pakistan Business Council’s secretariat and the Governor House.
Qazi said that after a long period of time, a business delegation from Germany was coming to Karachi for business discussion with Pakistani counterparts and would finalize the projects of mutual interest for the bilateral business growth. Some of the German businessmen are also interested in the joint ventures. The visit would encourage German investment here and exports of Pakistani goods to Germany.