MB339 Frecce 1 640Frecce Tricolori tragedy in Torino

The Frecce Tricolori MB339-formation had just taken off from Turin-Caselle Airport, Italy to head towards Vercelli, where it was supposed to perform a practise aerial display, when Frecce #4 (MM54539/4, msn 6760/155/AA071 and with a special 10ª Squadriglia Caproni-tail) lost altitude and crashed to the ground.

The pilot ejected and survived with substantial burns on his body, but sadly that was not the case for a family of four who was in the car on a country road that runs alongside the airport: according to initial reconstructions, a burning piece that broke away from the plane hit their car. The youngest girl, five-year-old Laura Origliasso, died instantly from very serious burns, while her twelve-year-old brother was transported in serious condition to the Regina Margherita children's hospital. The father and mother were also injured.

The demo team (officially 313° Gruppo Addestramento Acrobatico) had just left for a practise run, in order to celebrate the centenary of the Air Force the following day. This YouTube-video shows what happened, and we advise viewer caution due to the nature of the video. Needless to say the event was cancelled.

According to the first reconstruction, the aircraft hit a flock of birds, causing the engine to flame out. The pilot told his team leader that he had an engine problem and immediately after that started the ejection sequence, managing to avoid ending up in the town of San Francesco al Campo. After the parachute jump the plane crashed to the ground and went over the fence at the end of the runway. The other Tricoloris diverted to Milan-Linate.

As a result of the crash Turin was closed for the remainder of the weekend, forcing many cancellations and diversions.

Photo: la Repubblica

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