Plane crashes into retail outlet in Melbourne

The pilot of the plane that crashed in to a Melbourne shopping centre yesterday was in the middle of an airport investigation for a "near collision", it's being reported today.

DeHaven's sister Danelle Wicht posted on Facebook that her 70-year-old brother had been killed "on a once in a lifetime trip to Australia" with friends.

The plane hit the back of the mall, sending parts of the aircraft as far as the Tullamarine Freeway, on the opposite side of the shopping center.

He was the owner of Corporate and Leisure Aviation, and had loaned the plane from MyJet to fly the four men to Tasmania.

Victoria Police assistant commissioner Stephen Leane said it appears he was attempting to turn around and land when the plane crashed into the DFO factory outlet beside the airport.

One of the four Texas golfing buddies killed in a plane crash in Australia had days earlier expressed his fear of traveling in a small aircraft.

Two of the Essendon plane crash victims, Greg De Haven (left) and Russell Munsch. "Our hearts & prayers are with the victims and their families".

The victims' wives joined them on the three-week trip but reportedly skipped the doomed flight to tour the scenic Great Ocean Road along Australian's southern coast. "It was a charter flight with 2 of his friends flying to another island to play golf".

Munsch was a bankruptcy lawyer and a founding partner of the Munsch Hardt firm in Austin.

DFO worker Angelo Tsatas said he was cleaning outside when he heard a plane travelling "way too low" before he saw it bank into the DFO building.

The shopping centre was not open to the public at the time.

Police and paramedics rushed to the crash site, where firefighters doused the flames.

The Coroner will investigate while the Australian Transport Safety Bureau investigators and Civil Aviation Safety Authority will also examine the crash.

Black plumes of smoke could be seen from miles away as emergency services worked to get the fire under control.

A woman who dropped her daughter off at the Spotlight store on Tuesday morning told Fairfax Radio her daughter confirmed the plane had crashed into that store and it was on fire, but that all staff were unharmed.

The opposition leader, Bill Shorten, tweeted his condolences.

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