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A ‘British pilot’ has died after a Leonardo military training jet crashed during a ‘test flight’ in the mountains north of Lake Como.

The M-346 trainer aircraft went down near the town of Colico in Lombardy, Italy at approximately 12:00pm this afternoon after it was ‘conducting tests for the Italian Armed Forces’. 

The two pilots reportedly ejected the plane before it crashed at an altitude of about 8,200 feet and caught fire on the Lecco mountainside. 

The ‘British’ victim’s body was recovered by emergency services this afternoon whilst the Italian co-pilot remains in serious condition with ‘serious facial trauma’ at a hospital in Milan, according to reports from local newspaper La Repubblica

A 'British pilot' has died after a Leonardo military training jet (pictured) crashed during a 'test flight' in the mountains north of Lake Como

A 'British pilot' has died after a Leonardo military training jet (pictured) crashed during a 'test flight' in the mountains north of Lake Como

A ‘British pilot’ has died after a Leonardo military training jet (pictured) crashed during a ‘test flight’ in the mountains north of Lake Como

Black smoke was seen bellowing near the top of the mountain after the tragic crash as emergency services attended the scene.

The military jet, which has a distinctive blue and black nose, had been ‘flying for about twenty hours’ and was believed to be returning to base before it crashed, according to newspaper Corriere della Sera.  

Eyewitnesses took to social media to describe the ‘fireball’ in the mountains and how when the plane crashed it made a ‘terrifying huge roar’. 

Leonardo, which makes the military-grade aircraft, released a statement shortly after the crash saying they ‘express their most heartfelt condolences’ to the pilot who was tragically killed.

They said the cause of the accident is under investigation. 

They said: ‘This morning, at approximately 12:00pm, an M-346 aircraft crashed in the area above Colico (Monte Legnone) near Como in Northern Italy.

The M-346 trainer aircraft went down near the town of Colico, near Lake Como (Pictured) in Italy at approximately 12:00pm this afternoon after it was conducting tests for the Italian Armed Forces

The M-346 trainer aircraft went down near the town of Colico, near Lake Como (Pictured) in Italy at approximately 12:00pm this afternoon after it was conducting tests for the Italian Armed Forces

The M-346 trainer aircraft went down near the town of Colico, near Lake Como (Pictured) in Italy at approximately 12:00pm this afternoon after it was conducting tests for the Italian Armed Forces 

‘Emergency vehicles are now operating in the area and Leonardo, as per its established practice, has immediately activated an internal investigation committee. The cause of the accident is under investigation.

‘Unfortunately, the rescue teams arriving at the site of the accident ascertained the loss of one of the two pilots. Leonardo expresses its most heartfelt condolences.

‘Leonardo reserves the right to provide further updates on the event in the next few hours.’

Source: Daily Mail

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