PC-12 Crash Claims Eight, Including Romanian Billionaire And Family


Italian air traffic control reported there was no distress call from the pilot of a Pilatus PC-12 turboprop single before it crashed “minutes” after takeoff on Sunday (Oct. 3) from Milan Linate Airport. The pilot was Romanian billionaire Dan Petrescu, head of a major construction company and a chain of shopping malls, and reportedly one of Romania’s richest men. All eight onboard, including Petrescu’s wife and adult son, died when the airplane crashed into a vacant building, also setting multiple cars on fire. Among the victims were a one-year-old boy and his parents, as well as two other women who were sisters. All were friends of the Petrescu family, according to Italian press reports. No one on the ground was injured.

The flight was bound for Olbia on the island of Sardinia off the Italian west coast. The Sardinian resort Costa Smeralda (“Emerald Coast”) is a popular vacation destination for high-net-worth individuals. According to Italian press reports, “authorities” said that the PC-12’s flight path appeared to suggest that Petrescu was trying to return to the airport after overflying a local seaplane base and the “densely inhabited areas southeast of Milan.”

It crashed into an unoccupied building that was under restoration. The crash site is near a metro station located in the Milan suburb of San Donato.

Mark Phelps is a senior editor at AVweb. He is an instrument rated private pilot and former owner of a Grumman American AA1B and a V-tail Bonanza.

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  1. Unfortunate story for this mans family. Most business insurance companies would insist that He have 2 professional pilots in the front of a twin engine airplane. I used to fly co-pilot part time for a Cardiologist who insisted on two beating hearts in the front of any airplane he flew in. It seemed pretty sensible to me.

      • That is cruelly on the mark: why would a man with all this money put his whole family in a single engine turboprop, with a single pilot? I don’t care how wonderful engines are, or how wonderful the PC12 is, or how wonderful a pilot you claim to be. Buy that 2nd engine, and pay for that 2nd pilot. So that you and your family can enjoy gorgeous Sardinia for many decades to come.

      • Do we know that engine failure was the cause of this crash?

        Also, a second engine is no guarantee. Witness the guy that completed recurrent training at Flight Safety, took off in his King Air, lost an engine and then crashed into the Flight Safety building back in 2014.

        I’m reminded of the saying that’s it’s usually too soon to know, but never too soon to speculate.

  2. According to local newspaper accounts, the billionaire was an aviation enthusiast and the pilot of the Pilatus. The weather was overcast, but ceiling and other conditions are not stated. A grainy dash-cam video shows from a distance the aircraft in an apparent near-vertical descent prior to crashing.

    I’m reminded of the door-bell camera video of a plane crash several years ago in California showing the airplane emerging from the overcast in a near-vertical descent.