Flights halted at Samedan

No planes will be permitted to land at the airport in Samedan, near St Moritz, until the authorities there have met international guidelines for clearing snow.

This content was published on February 16, 2009 - 20:04

The Federal Civil Aviation Office imposed the ban on Monday, as part of its investigation into a fatal crash at the mountain airport on Thursday.

A Falcon jet smashed into a bank of snow and broke up, killing two of its occupants and seriously injuring a third.

Investigators said the walls of snow around the runway were between 1.5 and four meters high, whereas they should not exceed one meter. Furthermore, the runway had only been cleared to a width of eight meters instead of ten.

The office said it may demand further steps in the light of its investigations. Other Swiss aerodromes will be examined in the next few days to check that they are conforming to the guidelines.

The airport at Samedan is Europe's highest, at 1707 meters. Thursday's accident was the first fatal jet crash in the airport's history.

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