A small plane crashed into an empty building on the outskirts of Milan on Sunday, and its six passengers and two crew members all died, Italian authorities said.
Police authorities said that on board were three Romanian citizens, two French, one Canadian and two Italians, but refused to reveal their identities. The pilot was from Romania, where the plane was registered, said Milan’s public prosecutor.
Italian media reported that the pilot was a Romanian billionaire on vacation with family and friends, and that several of those killed had dual citizenship. One of the passengers is said to be a little boy.
The Italian air traffic controller, ENAV, said he lost radio and radar contact with the plane a few minutes after takeoff. The plane did not send any alarms, Attorney General Tiziana Siciliano told reporters at the scene. She said the flight recorder had been recovered, according to the Associated Press.
The plane was heading for the Italian island of Sardinia when it crashed early Sunday afternoon just south of Milan, minutes after taking off from Milan Linate airport. The impact set a number of cars parked nearby on fire, but the street was deserted at the time, and no one was killed on the ground.
Locals told Italian television that they heard the plane’s engines shut down and saw a fire, before seeing the plane plunge into a two-story building undergoing restoration.
“I saw something flying in the air, then a loud noise; it was very scary, ”Andrea Speciale, 19, a student, told Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera in a television interview. “It was already flying low when it dived and crashed.”
Another witness, the owner of a pizzeria in San Donato Milanese, the town where the plane crashed, told Adnkronos news agency that he heard a loud bang and walked out of his store, then saw the bodies of a young boy and an adult. on the ground.
Police footage of the scene showed cars still on fire and a long smoke pipe coming from the devastated building, a warehouse with offices belonging to the Milan public transport company.
The firefighters were recovering the scattered parts of the small plane in a large area cordoned off by the authorities. The district contains an urban mix of residential buildings, large office spaces and warehouses next to a metro station.
Authorities were still trying to establish what happened, but said the plane’s trajectory seemed to suggest the pilot attempted to turn and return to the airport shortly after flying over the base. local seaplanes and densely populated areas southeast of Milan.
The Italian news agency ANSA quoted the national aviation safety agency, ANSV, as saying the plane was a PC-12, an executive-type single-engine aircraft.