Saturday, 16 Oct 2021

Child killed in Milan plane crash was baptised hours before aircraft went down

The baby boy who died alongside seven others after a plane piloted by a Romanian billionaire crashed was baptised just hours before the collision, according to reports.

Construction tycoon and property developer Dan Petrescu, 68, was the pilot of a plane that flew into a two-storey office building near a subway station in San Donato Milanese, a suburb of Milan, on Sunday afternoon.

The single-engine aircraft went up in flames shortly after it took off from the city's Linate Airport, causing Petrescu to go off course and crash, killing all on board.

The plane was destined for the Italian island of Sardinia.

Among those dead where Petrescu's wife 65-year-old wife Regina Petrescu, his son Dan Stefan Petrescu, 30, and his friends Filippo Nascimbene and Claire Alexandrescou, who were the parents of Raphael.

Also on the plane was Mrs Alexandrescou's mum Miruna Anca Wanda Lozinschi and Petrescu's son's Canadian friend, 36-year-old Julien Brossard.

Corriere della Serra in Italy reported that 18-month old Raphael was born in January 2020 and had his baptism on Sunday morning, just hours before his death.

The group were reportedly heading to see Petrescu's 98-year-old mother at the family villa in Sardinia, before the plane plummeted from the sky 11 minutes after taking off.

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 an empty building's roof.

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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. She added that the flight recorder had been retrieved.

Witnesses described seeing multiple parked cars go up in flames as plumes of smoke shot into the sky following the impact, which was at around 1 pm local time.

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

"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.

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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