Milan plane crash: Billionaire, 68, killed alongside wife, son and five others

Eight people have been confirmed dead after the plane crashed into an office building in a suburb of Milan in Italy on Sunday

The aircraft crashed after it had taken off just 11 minutes earlier, at 13.04, from the main runway of Milan Linate
The aircraft crashed after it had taken off just 11 minutes earlier, at 13.04, from the main runway of Milan Linate

A Romanian billionaire has been named as one of the victims killed when a private passenger plane carrying six passengers and two crew crashed into an office building in a Milan suburb.

Dan Petrescu, 68, his wife and son were among the eight people who died when the small, single-engine plane flew into the vacant two-storey building near a subway station in San Donato Milanese on Sunday.

The crash took place shortly after the plane took off from Milan’s Linate Airport en route to Olbia Airport on the Italian island of Sardinia.

By early Sunday evening, only two of the eight dead had been identified, since they carried documents on them, Italian officials said. All those aboard the plane were “foreigners”, including the pilot who was Romanian.

The aircraft was registered in Romania and was a single-engine, turboprop business aircraft, which can also be used for carrying cargo or up to nine passengers.

Firefighters work in the building on which a small private plane crashed into the San Donato Milanese district in Milan


Daniel Dal Zennaro/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock)

Later on Sunday, the Romanian foreign ministry confirmed two Romanians with dual citizenship were among the dead.

Italian news reports said the pilot also held citizenship and a second victim was a Romanian woman in her 60s who also held French citizenship.

One of the victims was Mr Petrescu, a major real estate developer, Rai News reported. The Italian news channel said Mr Petrescu had dual Romanian and German citizenship, and that he had been piloting the plane at the time of the crash.

He was described as being “considered one of the richest men in Romania” worth about 3 billion euros, according to the Romanian newspaper Adevarul.

The plane, some cars and the building were on fire as a result of the crash


Daniel Dal Zennaro/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock)

Other news platforms have named his son, 30-year-old Dan Petrescu, a dual Romanian and German citizen, as the pilot at the time.

It was also reported that Mr Petrescu’s wife, 65, a dual Romanian and French citizen, also died in the crash along with five unidentified people including a young boy.

Milan Prosecutor Tiziana Siciliano told reporters at the scene that the plane was proceeding on its flight until “a certain point, then an anomaly appeared on the radar screen and it plunged,” striking the building’s roof.

She said the plane did not send out any alarm and noted that it was too early to cite any possible cause for the crash, adding that the flight recorder had been retrieved.

Eight people have been reported killed from the crash, including six passengers and two crew


Andrea Fasani/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock)

The Petrescu family had been heading to their villa in Olbia where Mr Petrescu’s 98-year-old mother was awaiting them, according to Corriere della Sera.

According to Romanian press, Dan Petrescu, a researcher in Canada, had arrived in Italy with a couple of friends, his one-year-old son and grandmother.

The newspaper said Mr Petrescu purchased the plane in 2015 together with Vova Cohn, a former shareholder of the Dinamo Bucharest football club.

Witnesses described seeing multiple parked cars go up in flames as plumes of smoke shot into the sky following the impact at around 1pm local time and photos show debris scattered across the scene in the small town.

Firefighters, police and emergency vehicles at the scene



Emergency crews rushed to the chaotic scene, but none of the passengers could be saved.

Firefighters tweeted on Sunday that no one aside from those aboard were involved and the vehicles which were set ablaze were unoccupied.

A thick column of dark smoke rose from the crash site and was visible for several miles.

“I saw the plane swoop down and then crash there,” said shocked eyewitness, Andrea, aged 19.

The teenager explained how he quickly called his friends after hearing loud noises before seeing pieces of metal spraying across the street.

The office block is still under construction and was empty at the time of the crash.

Carlo Cardinali, an officer of the Milan fire brigade, said: “The plane hit the building on the facade, with an extremely violent impact.

“The pilot made a turn, so he noticed some anomaly.”

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