In Milan, Italy, a small propeller plane crashed into a skyscraper Thursday afternoon, leaving at least five people dead and dozens injured. The pilot, Luigi Fasulo, was on a 20-minute flight from Locarno, Switzerland when he was alerted by air traffic controllers that he was not lined up with the runway. According to the Italian air traffic controller's association, the pilot reported "a little problem with the landing gear," and the control tower instructed him to move to the west of the airport until it was fixed. After seeing the pilot drift to the north, the control tower contacted the pilot again, stating that he was moving in the wrong direction. The pilot then claimed he was repairing the problem with his landing gear, and soon after, lost contact with the control tower. The Pirelli -- the damaged skyscraper -- was Italy's first skyscraper and one of the world's tallest concrete buildings. Built in 1958 and designed by architects Gio Ponti and Pier Luigi Nervi, it is one of the main symbols of Milan, along with the city's cathedral. The skyscraper is built of concrete and glass with a diamond-shaped floor plan and has inspired design around the world. Approximately 1,300 people work in the building, which houses local government offices. It is not known how many people were still in the building when the crash occurred.
Fasulo's son, Marco - a pilot for the airline Swiss - told the Rome newspaper La Repubblica that his father's crash may have been a suicide induced by despair over financial problems. However, the pilot's nephew, also named Luigi Fasulo, told Italian state television that the crash was an accident. "Surely there was no intention on the part of my uncle to crash into the building...he was a person who loved life." Milan Chief Prosecutor Gerardo D'Ambrosio said suicide was the least credible of three possible explanations police were examining -- including a technical problem or pilot illness. Italian Transport Minister Pietro Lunardi, in a Friday briefing in the Senate, said the pilot could have fallen ill at the controls because, after making initial radio contact, "there was silence" and "he was not operating any of the plane's controls in the last two minutes." This crash is the second such incident since September 11. On January 5, a 15-year-old boy flying alone crashed a stolen plane into a building in Tampa, Florida. The boy, Charles Bishop, left behind a suicide note praising Bin Laden and saying that al-Qaeda terrorists had tried to recruit him. Relatives of the boy have filed a lawsuit, claiming the acne drug Accutane was behind his suicide. For more information on the Milan crash, users may access the first three links above. The fourth link provides information regarding the Charles Bishop crash. To view the beautiful architecture of the city of Milan, users may access the fifth link. Links six and seven provide profile information and architectural works by the Italian designers of the Milan skyscraper.