The aircraft went down near the town of Hergiswil, with police alerted to the crash just before 10am local time.

Authorities sent a helicopter to extinguish the burning wreck of the aircraft before rescue workers could get to the scene.

Police said the aircraft had burnt out and officials have not yet been able confirm the exact number and identity of those who died.

The cause of the crash will be investigated by police, prosecutors and the Swiss Accident Investigation Board.

An operation to reach the victims and the wreck is ongoing.