Italy: 'Eight killed' as light plane crashes into empty office building in Milan suburb

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A small private plane has crashed near Milan in northern Italy, killing the seven passengers and the pilot, according to Italian media.

The aircraft, a Pilatus PC-12, crashed into a vacant, two-story office building in the early afternoon in San Donato Milanese, a town of around 30,000 inhabitants south-east of the Lombard capital.

The LaPresse news agency and other media said there were eight people aboard the flight, including a boy.

Rai state TV said the passengers were believed to be French. The pilot was a 30-year-old Romanian, the Corriere della Sera reported.

Fire officials couldn't immediately be reached to confirm the nationalities or the number of people aboard the plane.

The plane had taken off from Milan's Linate airport bound for Olbia in Sardinia, and reportedly crashed five minutes after takeoff, catching fire after smashing into an empty building undergoing renovations.

The office building, which also houses a bus parking lot, is close to the San Donato metro station, which connects the city to Milan.

"I heard my window panes shake," said Giuseppe, a 26-year-old man living near the scene of the accident, as quoted by the Italian agency AGI. "I opened the window and like in the movies, I saw a big column of smoke rising, and I called for help."

The Pilatus PC-12 is a single-engine, turboprop business aircraft, which can also be used for carrying cargo or up to nine passengers.

Italy's national aviation safety agency has opened an investigation.

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