This is the scene of devastation at Melbourne's Essendon airport after the crash
Plumes of smoke billowed into the air after the carrier thundered into Direct Factory Outlet, an outlet close to Melbourne's Essendon Airport in Australia.
The plane, understood to be chartered for a golf trip to King Island, took off and got to about 30 metres before veering left and crashing into the centre.
Victoria Police suspect "catastrophic engine failure" and confirmed the plane which was carrying five people on board crashed around 9am local time.
Smoke seen from the other side of Essendon Airport
According to Age news, the pilot made two mayday calls before crashing into the shopping centre, which was due to be open an hour after the crash.
Vast collateral damage could potentially have been caused as a result of the crash, with witnesses telling Australia's 3AW radio network that the aircraft collided with shops at the DFO outlet mall on its way down.
Reports confirm the plane had hit the shopping centre's storage area, at the back of a JB Hi-Fi and a Focus on Furniture store.
— Belinda (@pelagonianprncs) February 20, 2017
An spokeswoman for MFB, a fire management service in Melbourne, said firefighters took approximately 90 minutes to control the inferno, before finally putting it out around 10.30 am.
Acting chief officer, Paul Stacchino tweeted: “More than 60 firefighters have worked hard to bring the fire at DFO near #Essendon under control. Crews to remain on scene for some time.”
Victoria Police released a statement which said: "Emergency services are responding to a plane crash into a building near Bulla Road in Essendon Fields. It is believed the plane crashed just before 9am. At this stage we do not have information regarding possible casualties and police are currently evacuating the area."
The crash was seen from Melbourne's essendon airport
— Paul Stacchino (@MFBChief) February 20, 2017
Jason, an ABC radio caller Jason said he was in a taxi when he looked out the window and saw what he thought was a twin-propeller plane.
He told ABC 774: “I saw this plane coming in really low and fast. It went just behind the barriers so I couldn't see the impact but when it hit the building there was a massive fireball”.
Mick Frewen, a police superintendent, told the Age that the fire was still burning so investigators had been unable to get inside to determine the damage.
Not good. DFO Essendon pic.twitter.com/13REZqAGCT
— adam cusworth (@cussernaut) February 20, 2017
The Tullamarine freeway was closed so investigators could preserve debris that had landed on the road.
As police, firefighters and paramedics, hosing down he side of the DFO building and the burnt remains of the plane, heavy traffic delays are expected.
VicRoads said: “Exit early and avoid the area. Expect heavy delays on all detours.”
More to follow…