Five people were killed in a fiery plane crash in Australia on February 21. Four of those have been identified as U.S. citizens while the pilot was an Australian. Local news reports say that the crash happened shortly after takeoff. The Beechcraft Super King Air hurtled into a nearby Direct Factory Outlet mall. The mall wasn't open at the time of the crash. Nobody on the ground was seriously hurt. Authorities said that the pilot, named as Max Quartermain, radioed a "catastrophic engine failure" before the crash. Quartermain was the owner of the company that ran the charter trip. The other victims have so far been named as Greg Reynolds De Haven, Russell Munsch, Glenn Garland and John Washburn.
State Premier Daniel Andrews said that the plane crash was the worst such disaster in the area for 30 years. The shopping mall is remaining closed while the Australian Transport Safety Bureau carries out an investigation. A witness named Jason told the Australian Broadcast Corporation about what he saw saying, "I saw this plane coming in really low and fast. I couldn't see the impact but when it hit the building there was a massive fireball. I could feel the heat through the window of the taxi, and then a wheel — it looked like a plane wheel — bounced on the road and hit the front of the taxi as we were driving along."
The airport involved is Essendon Airport and is a small airfield used for private and charter flights. Mainstream flights in and out of Melbourne were unaffected by the crash. The ATSB says that four investigators have been deployed to the crash scene to determine the cause.
Here are the photos that help to celebrate the lives of those who were lost in the crash: