If you were planning to catch a flight from Essendon Fields today, you will need to make alternative travel plans. The airport and surrounding roads have been closed following a fatal crash involving a light aircraft. Here are the details.
Earlier today, a charter flight with five people on board crashed into a major retail centre at Essendon Fields airport. The Beechcraft charter flight bound for King Island in Bass Strait, between Victoria and Tasmania, was taking off from the southern end of Melbourne’s Essendon airport at around 9am when it crashed into the nearby Direct Factory Outlet. The outlet was not open to customers at the time of the crash although it is expected many staff members were present.
The fate of those on board and anyone inside the centre is as yet unconfirmed. Here's the official statement from Essendon Fields CEO, Chris Cowan:
Essendon Airport confirms an incident involving a Beechcraft King Air at approximately 9am this morning. The incident occurred on departure from Runway 17.
The full extent of casualties is not yet known.
Emergency Services have taken control of the situation and Essendon Airport is supporting their response.
Essendon Airport is working with all authorities to determine the cause of the incident.
Essendon Airport is closed other than for essential emergency services. All traffic has been diverted to Melbourne & Avalon Airports.
DFO shopping centre is closed until further notice.
Australian Transport Safety Bureau is on route to commence investigation of the incident.
Essendon Airport’s emergency plan was activated immediately after the incident occurred.
Needless to say, anyone who has booked a flight to or from the airport today will need to reschedule. Our condolences to those involved and their families.