NH90 crashes into Bracciano Lake during an airshow

On Jun. 1, 2008, at 15.15LT, an NH90 helicopter, serialled MM81519 EI-202 of the 1 Gr Sq of the Italian Army based in Viterbo crashed in the Bracciano Lake causing the death of Cap. Filippo Fornassi. The other 2 POB (People On Board) were rescued and survived the injuries.

The aircraft was at the end of its display in the Ali sul Lago airshow in front of the Italian Air Force Museum, at Vigna di Valle airport.

I was attending the show when I saw the helicopter performing a fiesler with an apex at low altitude: as soon as the aircraft’s nose was diving towards the lake, I understood that the pilot could not recover the chopper before touching the water. The helicopter touched the surface of water and broke up in many pieces before ditching. Many amateur videos of the accident, are available on Youtube too.

I took the following pictures during the accident (images are copyrighted and have a watermark because they can’t be used for any purpose without prior permission).







About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.


  1. Cencio vorrei, attraverso questo messaggio mandare un pensiero alla famiglia del Cap. Fornassi e ai colleghi coinvolti nell’incidente.

    Marco Meschino

  2. Penso allo strazio della famiglia, allo shock degli altri due membri dell’equipaggio e al dolore dei colleghi e degli amici…

    La prima immagine è bella e terribile. Grazie di averla messa onlide, David.

    E *forse* la fortuna, *forse l’abilità del pilota, *forse* entrambe han graziato la gente sul pattino
    E’ andata male ma poteva andare peggio

  3. Io parlerei di fortuna e di incoscienza come è possibile permettere la presenza di imbarcazioni nello specchio di lago coincidente con la diplay line……

  4. What are these people doing on the lake?! It’s a miracle no one but those on board were hurt!

    RIP to the pilot and speedy recovery to the rest of the crew.

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