5-Year-Old Girl Killed after Italian Military Jet Crashes into Family Car during Exercise

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The Italian military jet crashed during an acrobatic exercise in Turin, killing a five-year-old girl in a car on the ground.

An Italian military jet crashed on Saturday while taking part in an acrobatic exercise in the northern city of Turin, hitting a car in which an entire family was travelling and killing a five-year-old girl, Defence Minister Guido Crosetto said.

Italian news agency AGI reported that the victim’s nine-year-old brother was seriously injured, while her two parents and the jet’s pilot, who both suffered burns, were not in life-threatening danger.

Video of the crash filmed near Turin’s main airport shows nine aircraft in two tight V-formations, before one of the aircraft drops below the others and crashes, sending a huge fireball into the air.

In the video, the pilot can be seen ejecting from the aircraft and opening a parachute shortly before impact inside a fence airfield.

“The ministry expresses its condolences to the family members,” Crosetto said in a statement, adding he “had made available every facility and skill for the handling of the emergency and in support of any people involved”.

Writing on social media, Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini confirmed the pilot “jumped out with his parachute at the last moment.” He said the crash was a “terrible tragedy,” adding: “A prayer and a hug of heartfelt condolences.”

According to local Italian media, an initial investigation suggests the aircraft may have collided with a flock of birds, possibly causing an animal to enter the engine and leading to engine failure.

The jet was part of the Frecce Tricolori demonstration team, which is part of the Italian Air Force. The team of acrobatic pilots typically perform dramatic flybys at events of national importance, leaving streaks of red, green, and white smoke as the colours of the Italian flag. 

The squad, which also performs more intricate acrobatics during air shows, had been preparing for a show on Sunday as part of events marking 100 years of the Italian Air Force.

This event has now been cancelled, according to Reuters.

In 1988, three pilots and 67 people on the ground died and hundreds more sustained injuries after three aircraft of the Frecce Tricolori collided and crashed to the ground during an air show at Ramstein Air Base in Germany attended by around 300,000 people.