A plane confirmed to be carrying five people has has crashed near Essendon Airport in Melbourne.
The crash occurred at the DFO shopping centre which caught fire. Tullamarine Freeway was closed.
According to Business Insider, the Calder Freeway is also closed between Pascoe Vale Road and McNamara Avenue.
— Jimmy Traffic (@JimmyTraffic) February 20, 2017
Update: It is confirmed that the five people on board have died, making this event Victoria’s worst civil aviation accident in 30 years. Witnesses described seeing the plane, a Beechcraft King Air, erupt into a “massive fireball” after it crashed.
Professor Roger Stone, Director of the International Centre for Applied Climate Sciences at the University of Southern Queensland, who worked for many years as an aviation meteorologist said “It’s a big mistake to call a Beechcraft King Air a ‘light plane’. It’s more a commuter airliner and long distance transport aircraft. This aircraft can carry 15 people and has huge global use, including widespread successful operations with the Royal Flying Doctor Service.”
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.
“Very coincidentally, a very similar but earlier version Beechcraft King Air crashed on take-off from Sydney Airport on 21st February 1980 (same day, to the day, 37 years ago) with engine failure,” he said. “Losing one engine on take-off is very hazardous.”
Dr Douglas Drury, Discipline Leader at the Aviation in the School of Engineering of University of South Australia said “The King Air is a very reliable aircraft with many years in service around the globe. The take-off sequence for airplanes is a critical phase of flight and can be the most problematic with an emergency such as an engine failure.”
“Pilot training focuses on engine failures at take-off due to the critical nature and potential outcome, making is one of the most practiced emergencies required by CASA [Civil Aviation Safety Authority].”