Five men vacationing in Australia for the “golf trip of a lifetime” are dead after their plane crashed into a shopping center early Tuesday morning.
The plane, a twin-engine Beechcraft, had just departed Essendon Fields airport when tragedy struck. Just after the pilot reported “catastrophic engine failure,” the plane crashed into an outlet mall. In a small bit of luck, the mall was not yet open, and thus no one on the ground is believed to have been injured. Still, it’s grim stuff.
“Looking at the fireball, it is incredibly lucky that no one was at the back of those stores or in the car park of the stores, that no one was even hurt.”
Victoria Police Assistant Commissioner, Stephen Leane
With respect to the fireball, an approaching truck captured the crash on its dash cam (and had some pretty insensitive remarks immediately thereafter).
The US Embassy in Canberra reported that four of the five victims were US citizens. The families of Texans Greg Reynolds De Haven and Russell Munsch identified two of the departed on social media. Max Quartermain, a 60-year-old Australian and owner of the travel company Corporate and Leisure Travel, was the pilot.
The group had departed Essendon for a golf trip to King Island in Tasmania, presumably to play Barnbougle Dunes and Lost Farm.
The New York Post had this video.
Lisa Neville, Victoria’s Minister for Police, told reporters on the scene that details regarding the cause of the crash “are still being confirmed by police and fire services”.