A small chartered plane with five people aboard crashed into a shopping center shortly after takeoff from Melbourne’s Essendon airport Tuesday morning, Australian police said.
All five people on board were killed in the crash, according to a police statement. The four passengers were from the United States, while the pilot was Australian.
Texan Greg Reynolds De Haven, 70, was among the passengers killed — his sister Denelle Wicht told CNN De Haven had been going on a golf outing with some friends during a three-week trip to Australia.
“He was an awesome guy,” she said, describing him as athletic, a marathoner and a “man’s man.”
He was also traveling with his wife, who wasn’t on board the plane, Wicht said.
De Haven was a retired FBI agent, who had spent 30 years as a member of the agency.
No one was inside the still-closed DFO shopping center when the plane went down around 9 a.m., officials said, but some nearby witnesses were being treated for shock.
“It was a catastrophic plane crash, that has taken a number of lives. But certainly if we look at the circumstances, we’ve been very lucky today depending on the time of day and who was around,” Stephen Leane, Assistant Commissioner of Victoria Police said.