A plane from the Italian Air Force’s aerobatics squadron crashed on Saturday during a practice run near the northern city of Turin, killing a five-year-old girl and leaving her nine-year-old brother with serious burns when the car the one they were traveling in overturned. hit by burning debris from a huge fireball.
The MB-339 plane exploded moments after takeoff around noon local time, authorities said, according to Italian firefighters.
The pilot, who survived, could be seen ejecting with his parachute opening moments before the plane hit the ground, firefighters said.
He is currently being treated for burns at the Giovanni Bosco Hospital in Turin, authorities added.
Frecce Tricolori aerobatic aircraft, part of the Italian Air Force, were practicing a formation ahead of celebrations of the 100 years of the Italian Air Force taking place on Sunday. The planes had just taken off from Turin’s Caselle airport when one of the planes began to lose altitude, as seen in multiple videos shared on social networks.
The accident occurred within the airport perimeter.
The airport tweeted that it was temporarily closed.
The remains of a burned car, left, as firefighters seal the area where a plane from the Italian aerobatic air team Frecce Tricolori crashed during a practice run outside the northern city of Turin on September 16.
Italian media reported that the planes collided with a flock of birds just after takeoff, according to CNN affiliate Sky24.
According to local media, the car in which the 5-year-old girl and her family were traveling was traveling on a rural road parallel to the airport.
His brother survived and is now being treated for serious burns at the Regina Margherita Children’s Hospital in Turin, the hospital confirmed.
His parents also reportedly suffered burns.
The Italian Air Force said it was “shocked and astonished” by the plane crash, according to a statement made by Italian Air Force Chief of Staff and Air Squadron General Luca Goretti.
The Pony 4 plane, piloted by Maj. Oscar Del Do’, lost altitude and crashed to the ground shortly after the formation took off, according to the statement.
The Italian Air Force has not confirmed the exact cause of the accident, but has hypothesized that a bird strike occurred during the early phases of takeoff.