Five dead as plane crashes into Melbourne shopping centre

A small turbo prop plane Beechcraft King Air 200 crashed early on Tuesday near the Essendon airport in the suburb of the Australian city of Melbourne.

Witnesses described a "massive fireball" as the plane hit the building, follwed by debris and plane parts flying onto the nearby highways and a rising cloud of black smoke.

Police said the charter flight appeared to have had a "catastrophic engine failure" shortly after take-off.

Now I've been there by cruise ship, helicopter and this time by plane, ' the US man wrote.

Pilot Max Quartermain was killed, and the U.S. embassy in Canberra confirmed the other four people on board were United States citizens.

Investigators from the Australian Transport Safety Bureau are en route to the scene of the crash.

Pilot Max Quartermain, 63, owner of charter company Corporate and Leisure Travel was also killed in the crash.

"Dear friends and family, my handsome athletic big brother was killed today in a plane accident while on his "once in a lifetime" trip to Australia", she wrote on Facebook.

Footage has emerged from Australia, of the aftermath of a plane crash in a shopping centre in Melbourne.

Munsch, a fellow retiree, was a founding partner of Munsch Hardt, a Texas-based law firm reportedly involved in some of the most prominent bankruptcy cases in the U.S, including the Enron scandal which resulted in the oil company's collapse.

The US embassy in Canberra said four victims were American citizens.

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull expressed his grief over the tragic incident, which is believed to be Victoria's worst civil aviation accident in 30 years.

Essendon Airport is used primarily for cargo and light aircraft.

Despite thousands of flights every year in Melbourne, Australia, crashes numbers are low. but they do happen.

Victoria's emergency management commissioner Craig Lapsley confirmed the crash had caused an extensive fire at the DFO centre, but said firefighters had managed to contain it.

"This was a very intense, a very nasty fire, a very complex and unpredictable fire", Victorian premier Daniel Andrews said.

  • Arturo Norris