The plane flown by billionaire Dan Petrescu went up in flames 16 seconds before hitting a building, it is reported.
The reason why the single-engine plane fell from the sky shortly after take-off from Milan airport remains a mystery.
All eight people on board the plane died during the accident.
Petrescu, 68, was one of the richest men in Romania and was traveling with his 30-year-old son Dan Stephen Petrescu and his 65-year-old wife Regina Petrescu.
Witnesses said the plane burst into flames and that investigators called it a “vertical fall” 16 seconds before it hit the ground, Corriere della Sera reports.
The Pilatus PC-12 single engine aircraft took off from the main runway of Linate Airport at 1.04 pm local time.
It performed a right-hand turn that would have taken it en route to Olbia in Sardinia, but instead of turning south, it headed towards the suburb of San Donato.
Frantic Controllers Ask the Billionaire “Why Did You Divert?” As soon as the plane got out of the way.
The plane was traveling at about 200 mph when it struck the building in a fireball 11 minutes after takeoff.
Filippo Nascimbene, his wife Claire Alexandresco, their one-year-old son Rafael, and their mother Miruna Enka Wanda Lozinchi, all also died in the tragedy. Rainnews.it reports.
Nascimbene was an Italian-born businessman and his wife and mother were French.
Also on the plane was Julian Brossard, 36, a Canadian friend of Petrescu’s son.
Mrs Petrescu was also a dual-national and held a French passport while her son was working in Canada.
His plane was en route to the island of Sardinia to meet Mr. Petrescu’s 98-year-old mother at the family villa.
Petrescu, who also had German nationality, headed a major construction firm and owned several hypermarkets and malls, Italian media have reported.
According to the Romanian newspaper Truth, Petrescu was worth 3 billion euros.
Fire tenders reached the spot but the pilot and passengers died on the spot.
Eyewitnesses recalled the moment the plane fell from the sky and hit the building, which thankfully was empty.
One named Andrea, 19, Told tgcom.24.: “I saw the plane lost control. I saw it as it crashed. I saw it dive.
‘Fire in the Sky’
“The plane was down. And then there was a lot of smoke, flames in the sky. The pieces were flying. I was so scared.”
Emergency personnel said several cars in a nearby parking lot were set on fire, but the vehicles were apparently empty at the time.
“The plane hit the front of the building with extremely violent impact,” said Carlo Cardinelli of the Milan Fire Brigade.
“The pilot took a turn, so he noticed some discrepancy.”
A thick column of black smoke rose from the crash site and was visible for miles around the site
Firefighters were extinguishing the fire at the now-burnt building, which was reportedly being refurbished.
Speaking at the scene, Milan prosecutor Tiziana Siciliano said “it does not appear that an alarm has been launched from the board”.
The plane’s black box has been recovered and prosecutors have launched an investigation.
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