The Italian Air Force has confirmed that two of its pilots have been killed in a mid-air collision during a training session.
The tragic events unfolded in Guidonia, Rome on March 7, 2023, while the two flight instructors were both travelling in U-208 aircraft.
Media reports confirmed that one of the aircraft came down in a street and the other into a field.
According to La Repubblica the aircraft that fell into a street exploded as members of the public tried to help.
The cause of the crash is unknown and the Italian Air Force has launched an investigation into the crash.
Italy’s Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni sent her thoughts to the families of the pilots and to members of the Air Force.
‘We are devastated to hear about the deaths of two Air Force pilots during a training accident near Guidonia,’ Meloni said. “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.”
The Italian Air Force also paid a heart-felt tribute to pilots of the 60th Guidonia Storm, Lieutenant Colonel Joseph Cipriano and Major Marco Meneghello.
Both pilots had thousands of flying hours between them and were highly experienced.
“Joseph and Marco, we want to remember you like this, with your smiling faces, flying enthusiasts and enthusiastic about your work,” a statement from the Italian Air Force said. “You have transmitted the values of #MilitaryAviation to thousands of young people throughout Italy who today will surely have a thought for you.”
The statement added: “Once again our extended family is forced to deal with a devastating heartbreak that has deeply shaken us all. Joseph and Marco weren’t just our colleagues, they were our brothers.”
The Italian ministry of defense described a “deep sorrow” over the deaths of “two loyal servants of the country.”