Italian officials are investigating the collision of two Air Force Tornado aircraft. (JACK GUEZ/ / AFP/Getty Images)
ROME — Two Italian Air Force Tornado aircraft reportedly collided during a training mission in central Italy on Tuesday, crashing and sparking a large forest fire.
The aircraft, which were both flying with navigators on board, had taken off from the Italian air base at Ghedi near Brescia and were training over a hilly, wooded area of the central Italian Marche region, the Air Force said in a statement.
Early eyewitness reports from the scene suggested the two aircraft had touched wings while flying at low altitude.
Two AW139 Air Force helicopters were soon flying at the scene, Air Force experts were en route, while two Italian Air Force AMX fighters made passes to aid the surveillance operation, before returning to base, the Air Force said.
In its statement, the Air Force said that emergency signals of the type given off by ejector seats had been picked up.
“During the search for the crews by the rescue helicopters, one helicopter has focused on areas from where emergency signals appear to be coming,” the Air Force said.
A Civil Protection official, Susanna Balducci, told Italian television there were no civilian casualties on the ground and that a firefighting helicopter was trying to put out flames at the crash scene. ■