A small private plane has crashed into an empty building in Milan, killing all eight people on board.
The plane took off from Milan’s Linate airport and was heading for the island of Sardinia, but it came down soon after on the outskirts of the city.
Witnesses described hearing a loud blast as it struck a two-storey office block and burst into flames.
One of those killed in the incident was a young boy, local media reported.
A thick column of smoke was seen rising in the air, though no one on the ground was reported injured.Rai state TV reported that the passengers were French, although this has not been confirmed by officials.
Several empty parked cars caught fire after the crash near a metro station in San Donato Milanese, emergency workers said.
Firefighters worked to extinguish the flames rising from the building, which was reportedly under construction .A thick column of dark smoke was visible from the crash site from several kilometres away.
The Pilatus PC-12 flight had taken off from Linate city airport in Italy’s fashion capital and was heading for the island of Sardinia, officials have said.
The aircraft is a single-engine, turboprop business aircraft, which can also be used for carrying cargo or up to nine passengers.
It is not yet clear what caused the crash.
Witnesses described seeing multiple parked cars go up in flames as plumes of smoke shot into the sky following the impact at around 1pm local time.
Photos show debris scattered across the scene in the small town.
The victims are understood to have been six French tourists, a Romanian pilot and another crew member, according to Italian newspaper La Repubblica.
Emergency crews rushed to the chaotic scene, but none of the passengers could be saved.
Firefighters tweeted that no one aside from those aboard were involved and the vehicles which were set ablaze were unoccupied. Photos show fire crews continuing to extinguish the charred building with bright orange flames raging.
The pilot has been named across several news platforms as 30-year-old Dan Petrescu.
Carlo Cardinali, an officer of the Milan fire brigade, said: “The plane hit the building on the facade, with an extremely violent impact. Italian authorities have launched an investigation into the incident to establish the causes of the crash.