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Two Italian Air Force pilots are killed in mid-air collision

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Two Italian Air Force pilots are killed in mid-air collision with one of the planes crashing down in a town below before exploding in a fireball

  • The two planes crashed near town of Guidonia, some 20 miles from Rome
  • One of the pilots survived the initial crash, but was killed in subsequent blast 

Two Italian Air Force pilots were killed today in a mid-air collision with one of the planes crashing down onto the town below before exploding in a fireball.

The two pilots were on board U-208 training aircraft and were participating in a training mission near Guidonia, according to an Air Force press release.

The cause of the collision around 20 miles northwest of Rome was not immediately known, but investigations have been launched by Italian authorities.

One of the two aircraft fell onto a street below onto a parked car infront of what appeared in footage of the aftermath of the crash to be a residential building.

La Repubblica reported that the pilot was still alive after the plane crashed and started yelling for help. Bystanders were going to put out the flames with a fire extinguisher, but the engine exploded before they could, the newspaper reported.

Pictured: A flaming car and one of the plane wrecks is seen in the town of Guidonia

Pictured: A flaming car and one of the plane wrecks is seen in the town of Guidonia

Two Italian Air Force planes collided in mid-air on Tuesday, killing both pilots during training exercises northwest of Rome, Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni said. Pictured: A flaming car and one of the plane wrecks is seen in the town of Guidonia

The two pilots were on board U-208 training aircraft and were participating in a training mission near Guidonia, according to an Air Force press release. Pictured: The second of the two wrecks is seen in the middle of a field near to the town

The two pilots were on board U-208 training aircraft and were participating in a training mission near Guidonia, according to an Air Force press release. Pictured: The second of the two wrecks is seen in the middle of a field near to the town

The second landed in an open field, photographs from the crash site showed.

Two buildings were evacuated as a result of the crash, and the two areas were blocked off by rescue workers who checked whether there were any other passers-by on the street or field at the time of the two crashes.

Photographs and video emerged from both crash sites. Footage from the first crash site on the street showed a burning car, and firefighters working to extinguish it.

In a second clip, white foam – used by firefighters to extinguish flames – covered the road and pavements. The car still burned and smoke billowed into the sky.

Images from the field where the second plane crashed showed a wreckage lying in the middle of a grassy space. The tail of the plane was still distinguishable, but the rest of the aircraft was a mangled wreckage on the ground.

‘We are devastated to hear about the deaths of two Air Force pilots during a training accident near Guidonia,’ Meloni said. The prime minister sent her condolences to the families of the pilots and to members of the Air Force.

‘I express my deepest condolences and my closeness to the families, colleagues of the 60th Wing and the entire of the Air Force. Our prayers go out to them,’ she said. 

The two pilots were named as Lieutenant Colonel Giuseppe Cipriano, 47, and Major Marco Meneghello, 46. Both were stationed at the Guidonia air base.

Police at the scene where one of the planes crashed onto a street told local reporters that Tivoli prosecutor’s office has opened an investigation into the crash.

The Air Force Inspectorate have also ordered an investigation.

One of the two aircraft fell onto a street below onto a parked car infront of what appeared to be a residential building from footage of the aftermath (pictured). Onlookers heard him screaming for help before the plane's engine exploded, killing him

One of the two aircraft fell onto a street below onto a parked car infront of what appeared to be a residential building from footage of the aftermath (pictured). Onlookers heard him screaming for help before the plane’s engine exploded, killing him

Photographs and video emerged from both crash sites. Footage from the first crash site on the street showed a burning car, and firefighters working to extinguish it

Photographs and video emerged from both crash sites. Footage from the first crash site on the street showed a burning car, and firefighters working to extinguish it

Images from the field where the second plane crashed showed a wreckage lying in the middle of a grassy space. The tail of the plane was still distinguishable, but the rest of the aircraft was a mangled wreckage on the ground. Pictured: Firefighters work at the scene on Tuesday

Images from the field where the second plane crashed showed a wreckage lying in the middle of a grassy space. The tail of the plane was still distinguishable, but the rest of the aircraft was a mangled wreckage on the ground. Pictured: Firefighters work at the scene on Tuesday

Italian newspaper Corriere Della Sera said four propeller-driven aircraft had taken off from the Guidonia military airport for a training flight in the nearby countryside.

It remains to be clarified why they were over the town.

The two pilots from the other two aircraft will be questioned later today. 

The U-208 is a lightweight, single-engine aircraft that can carry up to four passengers, plus the pilot, and has a top speed of 177mph.

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