Three people were killed when a Cirrus crashed near the approach end of Melbourne International Airport's Runway 9R at about 5:15 p.m., Wednesday, and transmissions between the tower and the flight appear to show some confusion. The tower controller was busy with multiple aircraft inbound to the parallel runways at the airport. Traffic included several single-engine fixed-wing planes and at least one helicopter. Two of the flights, including another Cirrus also inbound for nine-right, had called for touch and gos. The crash aircraft, a Cirrus identified on the audio as four-sierra-romeo, was directed to join the pattern and appears to have been cleared to land. As the aircraft turned a tight base, the controller noticed a potential conflict. Someone had made a mistake. The controller told four-sierra-romeo to "cut it in tight, now" and seconds later, multiple pilots and the controller watched the aircraft go in. Rob Kurrus Jr., Justin Gaines, and Chris Franklin died in the crash. Audio was obtained from LiveATC.net.
The audio appears to show there may have been some confusion or miscommunication. Robert Kurrus Sr., father of one of the men who perished in the crash, told a local NBC news affiliate that "some of the things we've heard gives us great concern, as far as traffic control, or lack thereof in this situation." The aircraft was destroyed on impact with little more than the tail section remaining recognizable. The NTSB is investigating and will reportedly be considering the amount of traffic and how it was handled at the time of the crash.