A five-year-old girl was killed after an Italian Air Force aircraft crashed during a practice run on Saturday outside the city of Turin, as per reports in Italian media. Parts of the plane struck a car carrying a family, injuring the girl's nine-year-old brother and her parents.
Videos went viral on social media showing nine aircraft flying in two V-formations. The aircraft belong to Italian acrobatic air team the Frecce Tricolori. One of the aircraft lost altitude after takeoff and crashed into an airfield, sending a fireball in the air.
The pilot ejected with a parachute shortly before the aircraft made an impact in the airfield and reportedly suffered burn injuries. The jets struck a flock of birds right after taking off from the Turin Castelle airport, CNN reported.
The deceased girl's brother is now being treated for severe burns at the Regina Margherita Children’s Hospital in Turin, the hospital confirmed. Their parents also received burn injuries.
Photos of the aftermath show the wreckage of the plane in a cornfield, and a heavily damaged car overturned on the side of a road. According to a statement by the he Italian Chief of Staff of the Air Force and Air Squadron General Luca Goretti, the Air Force was "dismayed and astonished" by the air crash. Meanwhile, the airport was temporarily closed after the incident.
The Frecce Tricolori are part of the Italian Air Force and were practicing a formation ahead of the 100th anniversary of the Italian Air Force that are set to take place on Sunday. They perform dramatic acrobatic flybys during such important events and leave streaks of red, green and white smoke - the colours of the Italian national flag.
Over three decades ago, three aircraft of the Frecce Tricolori collided and crashed during an airshow in Germany attended by thousands of people in 1988. The three pilots and 67 people died on the grounds, while hundreds others were wounded.
(with AP inputs)