8 dead, there is also a child. The Desperate Maneuver of the Pilot

Three tons of steel and one ton of fuel fired at 270 kilometers per hour at a three-storey building in San Donato Milanese: a roar that shook the neighborhood and then the fire, with a very tall column of black smoke visible from much of the area. Milan. After the crash, an entire wall of the parking garage, which had been abandoned because it was being renovated, collapsed to the ground with the flames also burning some cars. There was no escape for the two pilots and six passengers aboard the powerful Pilatus single-engine executive air taxi PC-12/47E – YR-PDV registered: also a child among them. More than three hours after the accident, firefighters had found only one body, suggesting that the harrowing operation to recover the others would take a long time. From what we learned, it is a French family who set out from Linate to reach Olbia thanks to the air taxi service of a Romanian company that also often operates in Italy.

The coincidence

By a coincidence reserved only for major events, the Swiss-made plane crashed into the street dedicated by San Donato to its citizen Fabio Mangiagalli, 33, who disappeared in the plane crash in Linate: on October 8, 2001, the collision took place on the main runway between an executive Cessna Citation CJ2 and a Scandinavian Airlines McDonnell Douglas MD-87 caused the deaths of 118 people, the most disastrous plane crash ever in Italy.

And the Pilatus, worth 5 million dollars, crashed into via 8 ottobre 2001, on the corner of via Marignano, a stone’s throw from the Eni headquarters in San Donato and from the terminus of the yellow metro in Milan.

A few minutes later the firefighters, the police and emergency services: the fall of the air taxi, which still had a full tank of fuel, more than a thousand liters ja1, left no escape for the pilots and the six passengers left for Sardinia. Many locals reported hearing the terrible hiss of the dive before the roar.

Here’s the reconstruction of the flight path

Plane crashes into building: 8 dead

From a first reconstruction, based on some testimonials and research of the flight path, the Romanian pilot and copilot of the single-engine plane tried to return to the Milan airport from which he had just got up: the plane, one of the most reliable in its category , possibly suffered a turboprop engine failure, a Pratt & Whitney over 900 horsepower, starting fire after just over three minutes of flying. The Pilatus, which arrived in Milan from Bucharest three days ago, seems to have ascended at 13:04, having reached the maximum altitude of 1,500 meters and the speed of 330 km/h: so it was still fully up (ascending) after the classic circuit around the airport from which he had come, pointing southwest towards Sardinia. But then the captain swerved sharply to the right, as if to return to the airport, perhaps because the engine had not only ‘crashed’, but also caught fire. Some witnesses from the ground reported flames and smoke coming from the engine compartment. However, the pilot was unable to maneuver at that low altitude and with the speed gradually decreasing, so the plane crashed into the wall of the three-storey building. Not on the roof, as if the commander had at least partially succeeded in “remembering” the plane. He doesn’t appear to have called the Tower of Milan or launched the mayday, but less than twenty seconds have passed between the change of course and speed and the crash.


«We were the first to hurry. I saw the body of a child and that of another person. It was shocking.’ This is what Mina Ishak, owner of ‘Crazy Pizza’, a pizzeria in via Marignano, in San Donato, says to Adnkronos

The victims

He was considered one of the richest men in Romania Dan Petrescu, owner and pilot of the plane that crashed into the building. He was 68, a dual citizen of Germany and Romania and a major investor in the real estate sector in his country. Among the victims are 30-year-old son, Dan Stefan Petrescu, initially indicated at the helm of the aircraft, born in Munich and also with dual nationality, and his wife, 65 years old, born in Romania with French nationality. With them 5 other persons can be identified, including the child probably a few years old.

Petrescu owns a large number of buildings that he has sold over the years to major commercial chains such as the Metro and Real hypermarkets. Partner of Ion Tiriac, his wealth is estimated at around 3 billion euros, making him one of the richest men in Romania, a country to which he returned after 1989 after spending many years in Germany to escape Nicolae’s regime Ceausescu. According to reports from the Romanian press, Petrescu was traveling with his family to Olbia, where he owns a villa and where his 98-year-old mother was waiting for him. The aircraft was bought in 2015 by Petrescu together with Vova Cohn, a former shareholder of the football team Dinamo Bucharest.

Paolo Ricci Bittic


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