Five dead as plane crashes into Melbourne shopping centre

Emergency services personnel are seen at the scene of a plane crash in Essendon in Melbourne, Australia, February 21, 2017. AAP/Joe Castro/via REUTERS

A light aircraft exploded Tuesday into a shopping centre near the Australian city of Melbourne. None of the five people aboard survived.
“Five on the aircraft and looks like no-one has survived the crash,” said Victoria police assistant commissioner Stephen Leane.

Victoria premier Daniel Andrews described it as the state’s worst air accident in three decades.

The private charter from Essendon, north of Melbourne, to King Island, 55 minutes to the south, came down just short of a major motorway packed with the heavy traffic of early morning commuters.

The shopping centre was not due to open for another hour and the authorities confirmed no one inside was hurt.

A DFO shopworker identified as Ash told Sky News he saw “the fireball go up into the air”, adding it “felt like a bomb had gone off”.

“The fire was just so hot we could not get anywhere near it,” he said. “We could see the wreckage, or what was left of it.

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