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Swiss Airliner Crash Leaves at Least 10 Dead

November 25, 2001|From Associated Press

ZURICH, Switzerland — A Swiss airliner with 33 people on board crashed Saturday night as it was approaching Zurich airport. At least 10 people were killed and nine others were pulled from the wreckage, officials said.

Authorities issued an urgent appeal for area residents to join the search for survivors from the Crossair Jumbolino, which went down in a wooded area in Birchwil, about two miles east of the airport.

"The first reports spoke of a fireball in a wooded area. We can assume there was a strong fire," Zurich police spokesman Karl Steiner told German television.

The cause of the crash--the second to strike Crossair in less than two years--was not immediately known.

However, two experts quoted on state-run Swiss television said the plane appeared to be flying too low. Weather conditions were poor when Flight LX3597 went down just after 10 p.m. Crossair chief Andre Dose said there were no indications that terrorism was to blame.

On board the Jumbolino from Berlin to Zurich were 33 people--28 passengers and five crew, said Manfred Winkler, spokesman for Crossair, a subsidiary of the financially troubled Swissair Group. Crossair is taking over parts of Swissair in a government-financed bailout expected to be completed in the spring.

Hans Baltenberger, a local police official, told Swiss television that at least 10 people had been killed and nine others rescued.

Winkler said there had never been any reported problems with the plane, which is also known as an Avro RJ and is manufactured by Britain's BAE Systems.

A Jumbolino is a small four-engine jetliner that Crossair flies in two versions, one with 82 passenger seats and the other with 97.

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