Daniel Andrews Calls Essendon DFO Plane Crash “Worst Disaster” In 30 Years

Victoria Police have confirmed that 5 people were on board the light plane that crashed into the Essendon DFO in Melbourne earlier this morning, and that none on board are expected to be found alive.

Premier Daniel Andrews addressed press a short time ago, describing the incident as a “desperately sad day” and the “worst civil aviation accident” seen in Victoria in some 30 years.

Authorities have now confirmed that the plane, a Beechcraft Super King Air B200, suffered “catastrophic engine failure” shortly after take off a little after 9:00am this morning. The plane attempted to circle back and land at Essendon Airport, but crashed into the side of the Essendon DFO shopping centre that borders on the Tullamarine Freeway. It’s confirmed that the as-yet-unidentified pilot of the plane issued mayday calls prior to the plane going down.

The plane struck storage sections of Focus Furniture and JB Hi-Fi. Both stores were closed to customers at the time of the crash, and no staff were injured in the incident.
Fairfax Media reports that the company who owned and operated the charter plane was Corporate and Leisure Aviation, which is based at Essendon Airport.
The crash has sparked new questions about the safety of the airport, given how close the shopping centre is to runways. Daniel Andrews stated that, while he has no idea how long the airport will remain closed, that it remains a vital port for freight and charter operations in Victoria.

“There are many thousands of passenger movements and also freight movements that come out of the Essendon Airport each and every year and it’s an important transport asset to our state.”

“There will be some, and they are entitled to, who (will) want to have a discussion and a debate about how suitable Essendon Airport is.”

Fire crews who attended the scene took 1.5 hours to extinguish the intense blaze, caused by the plane’s load of aviation fuel, that the crash sparked.

Investigators are now on the scene piecing together exactly what went so horribly wrong.

Photo: Michael Dodge/Getty.