US tourists, Australian pilot killed in plane crash near Melbourne
- Author: Myrtle Hill Feb 22, 2017,
Feb 22, 2017, 0:54
No one was inside the still-closed DFO shopping center when the plane went down around 9 a.m., officials said, but some nearby witnesses were being treated for shock. No one was injured at the mall, according to reports.
Victoria Police Superintendent Mick Frewen said that the investigations are centred on a "catastrophic engine failure".
The plane struck storage sections of Focus Furniture and JB Hi-Fi.
She said she had no information on injuries at this stage.
Eyewitness reported to local media that they saw a flash before the plane burst into a "massive fireball".
"I ran across to Dan Murphy's".
"I am devastated to hear of his passing and my heart and thoughts are with his family. This is just really sad".
"He managed to get through all of that, to die this way", Wicht told The Associated Press.
The plane clipped the back of a JB Hi-Fi store and crash-landed near the Spotlight outlet, witnesses told the Seven Network.
It is believed that the crash involves a King Island Charter aircraft with five people on board. Lots of smoke visible in the area.More news: Mikaela Shiffrin wins historic third straight world slalom title
At least 13 firetrucks were on site at DFO to bring the blaze under control.
"It appears to be a very, very tragic accident that has occurred out there", Neville said.
Police gather in the DFO vehicle park shortly after the crash. Photos surfaced on social media showing the scene of the crash.
Footage from a motorist's dash cam captured the Essendon crash.
"It just happened so quick", he said. "There was no way possible we could do anything". I could feel the heat through the window.
"Five on the aircraft and looks like no one has survived the crash", said Victoria Police Assistant Commissioner Stephen Leane.
Victoria premier Daniel Andrews called the incident the state's worst air accident in three decades. The plane can carry up to eight passengers. "We stand ready to provide all appropriate consular assistance to the families of the victims".
The Coroner will investigate while the Australian Transport Safety Bureau investigators and Civil Aviation Safety Authority will also examine the crash.
The Essendon Airport and DFO have been completely closed for the day, however Tullamarine Airport remains operational.