Romanian billionaire Dan Petrescu was killed on Sunday when his plane crashed into a building in Milan.
The privately owned aircraft hit a vacant two-storey office block in the district of San Donato Milanese, killing all eight people on board, including Petrescu’s wife and son.
The small jet came down shortly after take-off from Milan’s Linate Airport and was flying to Olbia Airport on the Italian island of Sardinia.
A thick column of dark smoke rose from the site and was visible for kilometres. Several cars parked nearby went up in flames.
Petrescu, 68, was reported by Romanian media to be one of the richest people in his native country, with a personal net worth of more than €1 billion ($1.16 billion).
Holding both Romanian and German citizenship, he kept a low profile as he built up a fortune in the post-Communist era.
Milan prosecutor Tiziana Siciliano said the flight was proceeding until “a certain point, then an anomaly appeared on the radar screen and it plunged”, striking the building’s roof.
She said control tower officials reported the anomaly and the plane had not sent an alarm, but the flight recorder had been retrieved.
Petrescu was reported to be the pilot of the single-engine Pilatus PC-12. The plane had flown from Bucharest, Romania’s capital, to Milan on September 30 with no apparent problem.
The Italian news agency Ansa quoted the national air safety agency, ANSV, as saying: “The plane hit the building and started burning.”
Fire officials initially said the plane had crashed into the building’s facade. But following further inspection, the prosecutor said, it was apparent that it had struck the roof.
Firefighters extinguished the flames, which caused extensive damage.