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.
Two Air France flights, Flight AF055 from Washington Dulles and Flight AF065 from Los Angeles to Paris Charles de Gaulle had been diverted following security alert.
Flight AF055 from Washington Dulles with 262 passengers landed safely in Halifax while Flight AF065 from Los Angeles with 497 people on board, landed safely in Utah.
Sky News reported that the airline received anonymous threats for both flights after they took off.
Air France made a statement that, “As a precautionary measure and to conduct all necessary security checks, Air France, applying their safety regulations in force, decided to request the landings of both aircraft.”
Authorities are carrying out full inspections of the aircrafts, passengers and their luggage.
Southern England was hit by a major Atlantic storm, which could be its worst in years.
Strong winds blew and heavy rains fell late Sunday.
Two people were killed by falling trees in the severe storm and Sky News reported that a 14-year-old boy, named locally as Dylan Alkins, is feared dead after being swept out to sea on Sunday in Newhaven, East Sussex.
Hurricane-speed winds of up to 100mph swept across the South West, South, South East, the Midlands and the East of England.
Several London Underground and train services were suspended, the port of Dover in Kent temporarily shut after gusts of 65 knots were recorded in the area.
More than 130 flights at Heathrow Airport were cancelled because of the weather.
The Environment Agency said there were 12 flood warnings in place across the South West, the Midlands and the East of England.