ROME — Italy’s air force says a Eurofighter jet performing in an air show south of Rome has crashed in the sea, killing the pilot.

Thousands of people gathered on the coast at Terracina watched in horror Sunday as the jet completed a loop but then failed to get enough lift as it approached sea level. It slammed into the water just a few hundred meters offshore, sending up a huge plume of smoke and spray upon impact.

The air force said the body of the pilot, identified as Capt. Gabriele Orlandi, was recovered soon thereafter.

An investigation was opened into the cause. The rest of the Terracina Air Show, which was to have featured Italy’s famed Frecce Tricolore squad, was canceled.