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Four American Tourists Fatally Injured In Accident In Australia

Aircraft Impacted A Shopping Mall Prior To Its Opening For The Day

Four American citizens and the pilot of a Beechcraft King Air were fatally injured Monday morning (local time) in Melbourne, Australia when the plane impacted the roof of a shopping mall near the end of the runway at Essendon Airport.

The U.S. State Department confirmed the nationality of the passengers on the aircraft, according to NBC News.

The accident occurred about an hour before the mall was set to open. The impact created a "massive fireball" according to witnesses. There were no injuries to anyone on the ground.

Local media reports that the 60-year-old pilot was an "experienced aviator". The pilot and the passengers have not yet been identified pending notification of next of kin.

A witness, identified only as "Jason", said that he saw the plane descending "way, way fast." The aircraft hit the building and exploded. He said what looked like a plane wheel bounce on the road.

The State Department told NBC News that it is working with local authorities, and stands "ready to provide all appropriate consular assistance to the families of the victims."

(Image from Melbourne Fire Department Twitter feed)



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