A plane has crashed into the side of a shopping centre near Essendon Airport in the north of Melbourne, causing a devastating fire.
A State Government spokesperson said that the five-person Beechcraft charter flight to King Island crashed soon after take off at 9.00am. The cause of the crash is yet to be confirmed, but early reports suggest catastrophic engine failure.
— Buffing Actions News (@BuffingActions) February 20, 2017
The plane was carrying five passengers on board. The Police Minister Lisa Neville said that the current status of the passengers remains unknown, “It appears to be a very, very tragic accident that has occurred out there,” the Minister told ABC.
The light plane high the DFO shopping centre at Essendon Fields. It is not known if there are any fatalities or injuries. The ABC reports that there are at least 13 fire trucks attending the scene.
Pilot radar websites indicate that the plane was a Beechcraft B200 Super King Air.
Flight path of the aircraft. Possibly catastrophic engine failure.
— Matt Di Toro (@matt_ditoro) February 20, 2017
Local resident “Michael” called into ABC radio and said that he saw the crash happen as he was driving on the Tullamarine Freeway. “I saw the plane come [in] and [saw] the explosion sort of behind the pre-cast concrete wall,” he said. “I saw the plane swoop down and it sort of went over the shopping centre and then there was a big explosion and a black plume of smoke that came out.”
— Thomas Maggs (@Tsm042) February 20, 2017
Members of the public are been advised to avoid the area, including the Tullamarine and Calder freeways.
We will have more on this story as it becomes available
Five people were on board the aircraft when it crashed into the DFO shopping centre.
The cause of the crash is still unconfirmed but it is believed engine failure was at fault.
Nobody on board has survived the crash, and it it believed the plane was being captained by a pilot, aged in his 60’s and four tourists reportedly visiting from America.
Reports have confirmed that no one in DFO was injured, with the plane crashing into the building before the stores opened to shoppers.
All 20 staff on shift at the time have been accounted for.
Speaking at a recent press conference, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said that “Today is a desperately sad day for our State, a number of people have died as a result of what is the worst civil aviation accident that we have seen for 30 years,”
“A number of people have died and we are trying to reach out to their families to support them.”
He also praised the “outstanding” job of the emergency services “this was a nasty job, a very intense fire” but arrived on the scene just minutes after the terrible accident occurred.