Published on : Tuesday, February 21, 2017
This is regarded as the worst aviation accident in 30 years in Victoria. Witnesses described seeing the plane erupt into a “massive fireball” after it smashed in to the DFO centre just after 9.00 am local time.
State police in Victoria have confirmed five people were on board the plane, and said there were “a number of fatalities”.
The shopping centre is on the edge of Essendon Airport, which does not open to public until 10 am. Australian media reports suggested that staff working in the store hit by the plane were unharmed.
Family used social media to pay tribute to two of the victims: Greg De Haven, who was on a golf trip, and Texas lawyer Russell Munsch.
It is believed the group was on their way to King Island, off Tasmania’s north coast. The plane crashed into the back of shops — including a Spotlight store — and a carpark, which is opposite the busy Tullamarine Freeway.
A Spotlight store manager said 20 staff were inside at the time, but none were injured.
Eight fire crews are reported to be battling the blaze which broke out in the shopping centre following the crash.