An Italian fighter pilot died whilst attempting a high-risk loop-the-loop manoeuvre in front of horrified spectators that included his family and girlfriend.
The pilot was performing at a military show near the coastal town of Terracina, about 30 miles (48km) south of Rome, on Sunday (24 September).
The Italian Air Force F-2000A Eurofighter Typhoon was filmed heading high up into the sky before plummeting into the sea.
Italian newspaper La Stampa reported that the pilot was attempting to pull out of a high-altitude loop in the 85m euro aircraft during the airshow.
The impact killed the pilot, named locally as Capt Gabriele Orlandi, 36, a few hundred yards from the coast.
It is thought that Orlandi misjudged the manoeuvre and smashed into the water, dying on impact, with his body recovered by navy divers.
The Daily Telegraph reported that Orlandi had more than 10 years experience as a pilot and had trained in the United States with American Top Gun flyers.
Local press said that his watching girlfriend had to be taken to hospital and treated for severe shock.
The military airshow was immediately suspended after the accident as rescue workers and emergency service crews tried to save Orlani's life.
But his body was discovered around 90 minutes after the crash and Italian authorities have subsequently launched two investigations into how the incident happened.
"A day of joy turned into a day of great sadness," said General Enzo Vecciarelli, a senior air force commander said to local press. "Our deepest condolences go to the relatives of Capt Orlandi."
One spectator told La Stampa Italia: "It was terrible. The plane should have touched the water and then traced back but instead crashed into the sea."
Another spectator, a 49-year-old woman from Frosinone, said: "He passed on our heads, then we saw him climb up very high before he started to descend quickly: he flew for a while parallel to the water's mirror when he suddenly fell silent".