Four Americans Dead In Australian King Air Crash (Updated)
Five occupants of a King Air, including four Americans on a golf holiday, were killed when the aircraft crashed into the roof of a large shopping mall in Melbourne, Australia, Tuesday. No one was hurt on the ground, likely because the accident occurred about 9 a.m., just before the mall opened for the day. Most of the aircraft ended going through the storeroom roof of a store in the mall. Staff of the store were not in that area. The pilot was identified as Max Quatermain, a professional pilot with 38 years of experience, who operated the King Air as a charter business. He reported "catastrophic engine failure" in two radio calls after takeoff. The Americans on board have been identified as Greg De Haven, 70, Russell Munsch, Glenn Garland, and John Washburn, 67, all from Texas.
Assistant Commissioner Stephen Leane, of the Victoria (State) Police, said the charter aircraft had taken off from Essendon Airport, a GA airport next to the mall, about eight miles from Melbourne’s city center. The aircraft was on its way to King Island, which is between Melbourne and Tasmania and is a popular vacation spot in the southern summer. Daniel Andrews, the premier of Victoria, said the mishap was “the worst civil aviation accident that our state has seen for 30 years.” The Australian Transport Safety Bureau is expected to release more details as the investigation continues.