Four Americans were among five people killed when a light plane crashed into the roof of a shopping mall in Melbourne, Australia, the State Department has confirmed.
The twin-turboprop Beechcraft King Air plane suffered engine failure and crashed into the mall near the end of the runway at Essendon Airport around 5 p.m. ET Monday (9:00 a.m local time), according to authorities.
Witnesses described the plane exploding on impact and erupting into a "massive fireball." The assistant police commissioner for Victoria state said there were no fatalities other than those on board the aircraft.
"There were five people on the aeroplane and it looks like nobody's survived the crash," Stephen Leane told reporters in Melbourne, Australia's second largest city. The incident happened about an hour before the mall was due to open, he said.
Leane said the plane hit the building before crashing into the mall's car park.
The State Department did not identify the Americans, who were passengers on the plane. Australian media have reported the pilot was an experienced aviator in his 60s.
"We extend our deepest condolences to the families and loved ones of all those who died in today's tragic crash," a State Department official told NBC News.
"The U.S. Embassy and Consulate in Melbourne are working closely with local authorities. We stand ready to provide all appropriate consular assistance to the families of the victims," the official added.
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