- A chartered plane crashed into a shopping center in Melbourne Tuesday morning
- All five people onboard were confirmed dead
- Investigators blamed the accident to ‘catastrophic engine failure’
- Police have yet to release the identities of the victims
A charter plane crashed into a shopping center in Melbourne, Australia; triggering an explosion that rocked the building and other nearby establishments on Tuesday morning, February 21.
The Beechcraft B200 Super King Air aircraft was headed for King Island in Tasmania with five people onboard when it clipped the building, coming ‘low and fast’ before crashing into the Spotlight and Focus on Furniture stores inside the DFO (direct factory outlet) in Essendon past 9:00 am.
All the passengers remain unaccounted for as rescuers struggled to get through the blazing debris. They were later confirmed to have died in the tragedy.
Local authorities have yet to release the names of those who were onboard.
A witness looking through a cab window recalled seeing a twin-propeller engine aircraft crashing into the rear of the DFO f0llowed by a massive fireball.
“I could feel the heat through the window of the taxi, and then a wheel – it looked like a plane wheel – bounced on the road and hit the front of the taxi as we were driving along,” news.com.au quoted a man named Jason as telling a local radio.
“We kept driving and there was big fireball behind us,” the witness said.
About 60 firefighters were dispatched immediately to the scene to help put out the fire and look for possible survivors.
Luckily, no staff inside the shopping center were hurt as the store was just about to open in an hour.
Unconfirmed reports said four of the passengers were tourists visiting from the US, while others said the plane was carrying nurses from the Ambulance Victoria.
Investigators initially blamed the accident to ‘catastrophic engine failure’ but no official report have been released yet.
Police are now assessing the extent of the damage at the crash site and have advised motorists to avoid the area.
Video report from The Morning Show: