An airplane crashes into an Italian building; 8 passengers killed

A small, single-engine plane carrying six passengers and two crew members crashed into a vacant two-story office building on the outskirts of Milan on Sunday, and authorities said all eight people on board are dead.

Investigators have opened an investigation into the causes of the crash of the private plane shortly after take off from Milan Linate airport en route to Olbia airport on the Italian island of Sardinia. A thick column of black smoke rose from the crash site and was visible for miles. Several cars parked nearby caught fire.

Firefighters tweeted that no one other than those on board was injured in the crash early in the afternoon near a metro station in San Donato Milanese, a small town near Milan.

Milan prosecutor Tiziana Siciliano told reporters at the scene that the plane continued to fly up to “a certain point, then an anomaly appeared on the radar screen and it plunged”, hitting the roof of the building.

Control tower officials reported the anomaly, she said, but no further details were immediately provided.

A view of the area where a small plane crashed into a building as all 8 people on board died in San Donato, Milan, Italy on October 3, 2021. (Photo by Piero Cruciatti / Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

The prosecutor said the plane did not send any alarms. It was too early to name a possible cause for the crash, Siciliano said, adding that the flight recorder had been recovered.

By early evening, only two of the eight dead had been identified as they carried documents with them, Siciliano said. The people on board were “all foreigners”, she said, including the pilot, who was Romanian. The plane was registered in Romania, the prosecutor said.

The Romanian Foreign Ministry later said two Romanians with dual nationality were among the dead.

Italian reports said the pilot, 30, also had German nationality. A second victim was a Romanian woman in her sixties who also had French nationality, according to reports.

Reports said the plane flew from Bucharest, Romania, to Milan on September 30 with no apparent problem.

The Italian news agency ANSA quoted the national aviation safety agency ANSV as saying “the plane hit the building and started to burn”. He said the aircraft was a PC-12, an executive-type single-engine aircraft.

Firefighters said earlier that the plane crashed into the facade of the building. But upon closer inspection, the prosecutor said it was evident the plane had struck the roof.

Firefighters extinguished flames in the severely charred and gutted building, which is said to be undergoing renovations.

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