ROME: A military C-130 Hercules transport plane crashed on take-off during a training flight near Pisa in northwest Italy Monday, killing all five people on board, the Italian air force told AFP.

The aircraft hit the ground almost immediately after take-off and caught fire around 1310 GMT, the air force press service said.

The civilian airport next to the military runway was closed after the accident.

According to the mayor of Pisa, Marco Filippeschi, citing witnesses, the plane went into a spin after take-off and crashed shortly after.

The Italian military has suffered heavy losses in air accidents over the past few years, the most serious one being 13 months ago in France when a helicopter crash claimed the lives of eight soldiers.

Two other Italian military helicopter accidents in 2008 left two people dead.