A commercial charter flight heading from Essendon Airport in Melbourne to King Island in the Bass Strait crashed in a “massive fireball” into a shopping center near the airport, shortly after takeoff killing all the five people on board.
Sky News reported that the Beechcraft Super King Airplane came in ‘low and fast’ before it crashed onto DFO (Direct Factory Outlet) at Essendon Fields at about 9am on Tuesday, February 21, 2017.
The twin-engine aircraft which was owned by Myjet had been hired by Corporate and Leisure Travel.
None of the staff at the shopping center which was not yet open to the public was injured or killed.
News Corp has confirmed the identity of the pilot as an Australian man named Max Quartermain while the United States state department has confirmed to US network NBC in a statement that all of the four passengers were Americans.
According to Sky News report, two of the four passengers are Greg Reynolds De Haven and Russell Munsch, as being named by their families on social media.
Police said that the plane had a “catastrophic engine failure” and was turning back to the airport before it crashed.
Both the Essendon airport and the DFO shopping centre are closed to allow for investigations.