5 killed in Melbourne plane crash

Melbourne, Feb 21 (IANS) At least five people, including four US tourists, were killed on Tuesday when a small chartered plane crashed into a shopping centre in Australia’s Melbourne city, the city police said.

“It was a catastrophic plane crash that has taken a number of lives. But certainly if we look at the circumstances, we’ve been very lucky depending on the time of day and who was around,” said Stephen Leane, Assistant Commissioner of Victoria Police.

The fifth victim was the pilot, an Australian national.

No one was inside the still-closed DFO shopping centre when the plane went down around 9 am, officials said, but some nearby witnesses were being treated for shock.

The complex will remain closed for another day, the police officer said.

Lisa Neville, Victoria’s Minister for Police, said details regarding the cause of the crash “are still being confirmed by police and fire services”.

The US Embassy has confirmed that four passengers on the plane were bound for Tasmania’s King Island, the BBC said.

In a post on Twitter, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said he was “deeply saddened” by the accident.

“Our hearts and prayers are with the victims and their families,” he said.

–IANS

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