ROME (AP) — A small single-engine plane carrying six passengers and a crew of two crashed Sunday into the side of a vacant two-story office building in a Milan suburb, and Italian news reports said all aboard perished.
Investigators opened a probe into what caused the private plane to crash shortly after takeoff from Milan’s Linate Airport en route to Olbia Airport on the Italian island of Sardinia. A thick column of dark smoke rose from the crash site and was visible for kilometers.
The LaPresse news agency initially quoted firefighters at the scene saying the pilot and all five passengers aboard were killed. But later LaPresse and other media said there were eight people aboard the flight, including a boy.
Italian news reports said at least one German and one French citizen were believed to have been aboard the flight. Earlier, state TV said the passengers included French citizens.
Fire officials couldn’t immediately be reached to confirm reports about the people aboard the plane.
The Italian news agency ANSA quoted the national air safety agency ANSV as saying “the plane hit the building and started burning.” It said the aircraft was a PC-12, a single-engine, executive-type plane.
ANSA also quoted a Milan fire official, Carlo Cardinali, as saying as of late afternoon only one body had been located. He said the aircraft crashed into the building’s facade.
“The impact was devastating,″ Cardinali said.
Firefighters tweeted that no one other than those aboard were involved in the early afternoon crash near a subway station in San Donato Milanese, a small town near Milan. They said several cars in a nearby parking lot were set ablaze, but apparently the vehicles were unoccupied.
Firefighters extinguished the flames of the now-charred building, which reportedly was under renovation.