Australia: At least 5 dead after plane crashes into Melbourne shopping centre

Texans Greg Reynolds DeHaven and Russell Munsch have been identified by their families on social media as two of the victims.

He was the owner of Corporate and Leisure Aviation, and had loaned the plane from MyJet to fly the four men to Tasmania.

Victoria Police assistant commissioner Stephen Leane said it appeared the pilot had tried to return to the runaway shortly after taking off.

"We didn't see the plane come down but we felt the explosion, we felt the shock wave from it", Mr Mayer said.

Police said the crash occurred about an hour before the shopping mall was due to open.

Nick Scali employee Grace Martin, 28, said she was sitting outside the shopping complex when she spotted the aircraft coming.

Victoria premier Daniel Andrews called the incident the state's worst air accident in three decades. "Our thoughts, our prayers, our best wishes and our support go to all of those who have been caught up in this".

Over 60 firefighters worked to extinguish the blaze after the plane punched a hole in the side of the building, also setting fire to nearby cars.

Mr Munsch died on Tuesday when a light plane in which he was a passenger crashed into a shopping centre shortly after take-off in the city of Melbourne.

A section of the Tullamarine Freeway was closed after the crash.

"The surrounding roads will be affected for some time".

Four Americans, including a retired agent for the Federal Bureau of Investigation, were killed Tuesday in a plane crash in Australia, authorities said.

Police said it would be several more days before air safety investigators finished examining the scene after the crash. "Please avoid the area", according to a statement released by Victoria Police.

The light aircraft exploded as it smashed into the shopping centre.

"Deeply saddened by the tragic accident in Essendon today", Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said in a Twitter post.

The day after the crash, the White House's press secretary passed on Donald Trump's condolences to the families of the victims.

Tuesday's crash wasn't the first time that tragedy has struck Essendon Airport but thankfully it isn't a common occurrence.

The flight history for the Beechcraft aircraft shows seven flights this month, including its latest from Adelaide International Airport to Essendon on February 4.

  • Aubrey Nash