ROME, Italy — Eight people died Sunday when a small private airplane crashed into a building outside Italy’s Milan.
A fire department official in San Donato Milanese, a Milan suburb, confirmed to Xinhua that a Pilatus PC-12 aircraft crashed into a two-floor building that was being renovated, killing the pilot, co-pilot, and six passengers, including a small child.
Andrea Checchi, mayor of San Donato, called the crash “horrifying.” According to news reports, none of the fatalities were Italian.
The flight was in the early stages of a flight between Milan’s Linate Airport and the airport in Olbia, on the Italian island region of Sardinia. Some media reports said that the pilot issued a distress call shortly after takeoff.
Media reported witness accounts that indicated the aircraft engine was in flames as it descended, with some pieces of the plane falling off while it was still in flight.
Tiziana Siciliano, the public prosecutor in Milan, vowed to open an investigation to determine who was responsible for the disaster.
According to news reports, Siciliano also revealed that the black box — a heavily-protected recording device airplanes are required to carry and that is often a key part of investigations into air disasters — had been safely recovered.