5 dead as small aircraft crashes into shops near Melbourne

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MELBOURNE: A light aircraft exploded Tuesday in a “massive fireball” with police saying none of the five people aboard survived as it smashed into a shopping centre near the Australian city of Melbourne.

The Beechcraft plane veered just after take-off into the shopping centre, that was still closed, next to Essendon Fields airport.

“Five on the aircraft and looks like no-one has survived the crash,” said Victoria police assistant commissioner Stephen Leane.

Victoria premier Daniel Andrews described it as the state’s worst air accident in three decades.

The private charter from Essendon, north of Melbourne, to King Island, 55 minutes to the south, came down just short of a major motorway packed with the heavy traffic of early morning commuters.

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