ZURICH, Switzerland -- An Italian airlines DC-9 from Milan crashed just before landing at Zurich Wednesday night and police said they feared all 40 passengers and six crew members were killed.
'The plane crashed in woods at 8:15 p.m. (2:15 p.m. EST) about 5 miles north of Kloten Airport near the village of Stadel,' an airport police spokesman said.
'There were 40 passengers and six crew members on board, the pilot and co-pilot and four cabin personnel,' the spokesman said.
'Visibility was good although it was raining,' he said. 'There was no fog or heavy clouds and there is no immediate reason for the crash.'
He said that three hours after the crash 10 bodies had been recovered and that parts of the wreckage were still on fire. He said the rescue operation was continuing but that there was little hope of finding any survivors in the wreckage, which he said was strewn over a large area.
'There is clearly very little hope of any survivors,' the spokesman said.
The plane was Alitalia flight 404 on its regular 45-minute hop from the northern Italian industrial center to Zurich. The spokesman said the plane had circled and was making its final approach from the north when it crashed into the woods on a sloping hillside.
'The only pieces fully intact after the crash were the engines, and everything else was in pieces all over the woods,' the policeman said.
The Swiss airline Swissair, acting as spokesman for Zurich airport, said the large majority of passengers were believed to be swiss nationals -- presumably business people returning from the industrial center of northern Italy.