Plane with 5 people hits mall in Australia


22 February, 2017

It has been reported - but not confirmed - that the golfers were from the US.

It is believed the plane hit the Spotlight store, but the shopping outlet was not scheduled to open until 10am, so no customers were inside at the time of the crash.

Ash Mayer, a storeman at The Good Guys, felt the crash reverberate through his building.

"I saw the plane flying across the top of the roof and it was shaking", she told The New Daily.

'We were just coming off the off-ramp, we felt just everything shake and a massive explosion and a fireball go up, ' he told AAP.

It took fire crews about 90 minutes to extinguish the flames.

"It just happened so quick", he said. "Staff are being offered counselling".

The plane crashed into the back of two shops, Focus on Furniture and JB Hi Fi, Mr Frewen said.

Professor Stone said the Beechcraft King Air is normally regarded as a very rugged and sturdy aircraft and also has exceptionally long range and performance characteristics.

Flights are being diverted to Melbourne and Avalon Airports.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau has launched an investigation into the incident, which is the "worst civil aviation accident in Victoria in 30 years", The Australian reports.

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"ATSB will be investigating".

Victoria's Emergency Management Commissioners Craig Lapsley said the state of Victoria had "learned a lot from Bourke Street" tragedy and would use their tragic January event as a sounding board for how they tend to witnesses of tragic events.

"We will have updates available on Twitter, Facebook and on the website as we start to put together information that we can release".

It has rapidly become a must-play destination for golf-lovers.

Cape Wickham Links, one of three golf courses on the island, said everyone it had been expecting on Tuesday had already turned up.

"Our hearts and prayers are with the victims and their families", he said.

The U.S. Embassy in Canberra confirmed that four of the five victims were U.S. citizens.

Essendon Airport has about 50,000 annual plane movements, says Swinburne Aviation department chair Stephen Fankhauser, and only very occasionally there are crashes.

The charter flight was heading to King Island and crashed shortly after take-off at 9:00am.

Vision from the scene shows the aircraft well alight.

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