From the NTSB: "On April 18, 2002, about 1545 coordinated universal time (UTC), a Commander 112TC single-engine airplane, Switzerland registration HB-NCX, impacted a 30-story office building in Milan, Italy, and was destroyed. The pilot, the sole occupant, was killed. At least two persons on the ground were killed, and 30 more received minor injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The airplane departed from Locarno, Switzerland, and was destined for Milan."
The 30-stories office building is the "Pirelli", at the time site of the Government of the Region and historical landmark of Milano. Built in 1960, to that day of 2002 despite its puny 31 stories the Pirelli building was the highest "skyscraper" in Milan(1).The Plane
Although from the news articles on the italian newspapers there never was any clarity on what kind of plane smashed into the building(2), apparently, as the NTSB confirms, the plane was a Rockwell Commander 112TC.
A record of the plane, including details of the accident, is mentioned on the Aviation Safety website for the first time in 2008, while a picture of it, taken on January 2002 (less than four months before the crash) is available here.
A report on the investigation conducted by the Italian government's National Agency for Flight Safety (Agenzia Nazionale Per La Sicurezza Del Volo) is available as a PDF here, and it contains a few interesting points that we will see.
Anyway: the Rockwell Commander 112TC has a wingspan of of 35 ft 7? in (10.85 m) (wikipedia). This is interesting when we look at the damage that this small plane supposedly caused.The damage
The Pirelli building is 127 meters tall (~ 416 ft), 20 meters large (~ 66 ft), and 75 meters wide (~ 246 ft).
Here's a little graphic I made indicating the wingspan of the plane compared to the size of the building.
and here's the damage
-- the above pictures (apart from my graphic additions) all from Google searches except the last one which I took myself a couple of days after the accident.
So, what's up with this? I understand shattering glass, but how is it possible that so far apart from the crash (which I imagine being the slightly larger opening in the building) metal frames are bent outwards? How could a small plane disappear inside a metal structure like that, and cause an explosion so large? According to the mentioned investigative report of the Italian Agency for Flight Security, parts of the fuselage where found on the other side of the building. In other words, the plane went right through, except it also exploded inside.
Here the impact is visible all through the other side:
here we catch a glimpse of the interior
and the fuselage on the unscathed lawn:
and here is the scene from a distance:
-- the above pictures from a corriere.it gallery
...the joke in the last picture being that everything you see, all that white stuff, is paper. So there was a lot of paperwork up on the 26th floor, yet very little wind outside (but this is contradicted by the above mentioned investigative report, that indicates a moderate wind of 5 knots, or 9 km/h. It would seem enough to scatter that paper a bit further around...)
more damage from the back:
-- the above picture from a flickr gallery
As I think the pictures shows, and as we will see by witnesses reports, it seems pretty clear that there was no raging fire, but just some little fire that extinguished itself pretty quickly. This, even though articles at the time talked about "Firefighters [who] took more than an hour to bring the blaze under control and several people had to be rescued from elevators which had stopped at the time of the impact." (Here)
But this is just copy-cat propaganda right from the 9/11 scenario, only on a smaller scale, as we will see by other details.
More importantly the plane was supposed to be traveling from Locarno, Switzerland, and be almost out of fuel. So, again, what exactly caused an explosion so powerful to bend metal frames outwards? And furthermore: who could be flying a plane right into a building like that?The pilot
As the story goes, a guy named Luigi Fasulo, 67, a swiss citizen from the italian part of Switzerland, was flying the plane. We are told he had 5,000 hours of flight and only minor mishaps. "An excellent pilot". He is described as a "tradesman" although we are not explained what trade. Somewhere else he is described a taxi driver who just sold his practice. Many stories are concocted around this character, including his supposed contacts with the italian mafia (here), and how he had been swindled by an art merchant (here), which would be the reason, according to a supposed son who supposedly spoke with journalists (here), for his suicide-by-catastrophe. All the stories around Fasulo contradict themselves and bear all the signs of disinfo of so many of the 9/11 theories, meant to lead the curious into a labyrinth of possibilities, never to be sure of a single fact.
Anyway. here it is. He had a big, long nose, "not that there is nothing wrong with that."
--the above picture from the RaiNews website.
Incidentally I will note that, as Simon made me notice, Fasulo, an italian family name, with two Ls becomes "fasullo", which means "fake". :lol:
Only two more pictures of him to be found (on corriere.it and repubblica.it), unless we want to see him on board of the plane, in that photo of January 2002 (here):
Fasulo is said to have taken strange decisions on that day. He supposedly called in with a problem to the landing gear, and then started flying above the city which is forbidden instead than circling the airport. The investigative report states that he slammed against the Pirelli for a number of accidental causes, ruling out suicide and terrorism. He had sunlight in his eyes, he was struggling with the gear commands, the airport hadn't been clear enough about what he had to do or not do, etc. When a number of reason is given instead of one good reason, you can be sure there is some confusion somewhere.
The bottom line is that this doesn't matter. As with other similar events, this episode is a "reminder" of 9/11. It is construed of a mix of fakery (very likely there was no plane or pilot) and truth (something did blow up in the building, as the gash was visible to the whole city for weeks) and it makes its job of upsetting the population, spreading uncertainty and uneasiness, reinforcing the fable of the planes entering buildings and blowing things up, even if in the end that episode is ruled as an accident
. First impressions are what count here, as other parts of this story more clearly will show.To be continued soon with: Firefighters report; witness reports; the politicians on the scene, and more. Stay tuned.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - Notes - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 1.
As with the relocation of WTC offices after the bombing of 1993, in 2005 the Government of the Lombardia Region has moved to a brand new building, slightly taller than the Pirelli. Incidentally, because this is a dirty story, the new building was built on the last patch of natural woods remaining in the city (read part of the story here). The wood, comprehensive of tens of centenarian trees left untouched for generations, has been completely razed for the project. The protests of thousands of citizens, who stupidly little cared for a new shiner building, were rightfully ignored. The area of the city were the razing took place is called "Gioia", which means "Joy". Unheeded was the proposal (of yours truly) to change the name of the area to "Sorrow". 2.
The airplane in news articles at the time was indicated either as a "Piper Air Commander" (there's no such thing) or an "Air Commander" (no such thing) or just as a "small plane". Such confusion went on for days at least on the italian news sources, and as far as I can tell, it was never cleared simply because the interest for the story died before. Today among the mainstream sources of this story it is only Wikipedia that, since 2006, indicates the plane as a Rockwell Commander, even though we are not graced by a source for this.