A Beechcraft Super King Air B200, registered VH-ZCR and carrying five people, crashed into a shopping center near Essendon Airport outside Melbourne on Tuesday.
The Australian Transport Safety Bureau said it is investigating the collision with terrain involving the twin-turboprop aircraft as it departed the small aerodrome on its way to King Island. The plane was operated by Essendon-based charter company Corporate and Leisure Aviation.
The ATSB has deployed a team of four investigators to the accident site and are expected to arrive on site this afternoon.
No fatalities are reported among the staff at the shopping center or its visitors, as it was not yet open to the public.
Essendon Airport is closed other than for essential emergency services. The airport spokesperson said:
“Essendon Airport expresses its deepest condolences to the families of those tragically deceased in the incident this morning. We are providing our full cooperation with emergency services and investigators into the cause of the incident and we thank the emergency services for all their efforts”.
“At this stage, we can confirm the aircraft was involved in a routine departure from Runway 17 at 8.58am (21.58z)”.
A spokeswoman for Airservices Australia said flights in and out of Melbourne’s main airport were not affected.
Weather reports around the time of the accident:
YMEN 202300Z AUTO 29004KT 250V350 9999 // NCD 16/09 Q1022 YMEN 202200Z AUTO 31004KT 9999 // NCD 14/09 Q1021 YMEN 202100Z AUTO 35007KT 9999 // NCD 10/08 Q1021