This image made from video shows the site of a plane crash at Essendon Airport in Melbourne, Australia Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2017. An official says a light plane has crashed into a shopping mall in the city of Melbourne. (Channel 9 via AP)
Smoke and flames rise from the scene in Melbourne (Channel 9 via AP)

All five people aboard a plane that crashed into a shopping mall in a suburb of Melbourne, Australia, are believed to have been killed, authorities say.

The twin-engine Beechcraft Super King Air crashed about 45 minutes before the Direct Factory Outlet mall in Essendon was to open, police minister Lisa Neville said.

The plane had taken off from Melbourne’s second-biggest airport at Essendon on a chartered flight to King Island, 160 miles to the south, Ms Neville said.

The mall is next to the airport and it is believed there were four tourists on board along with the pilot.

Police assistant commissioner Stephen Leane said it appeared no one aboard the plane survived and nobody on the ground was injured.

(170221) -- MELBOURNE, Feb. 21, 2017 (Xinhua) -- This photo taken by cellphone on Feb. 21, 2017 shows the scene of a plane crash in Melbourne, Australia. The Australian Authorities confirmed that five passengers had died after their light plane crashed into a Melbourne retail outlet on Tuesday Morning. (Xinhua/Gui Qing)(yk)PHOTOGRAPH BY Xinhua / Barcroft Images London-T:+44 207 033 1031 E:hello@barcroftmedia.com - New York-T:+1 212 796 2458 E:hello@barcroftusa.com - New Delhi-T:+91 11 4053 2429 E:hello@barcroftindia.com www.barcroftimages.com
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Investigators stand near damage to the building after a Beechcraft plane crashed into a shopping centre just after tack-off from the Essendon airport in Melbourne on February 21, 2017. A light aircraft carrying five people crashed on February 21 in a "massive fireball", hitting a shopping centre near the Australian city of Melbourne and sending black smoke billowing into the air, witnesses and officials said. / AFP PHOTO / Mal FaircloughMAL FAIRCLOUGH/AFP/Getty Images
(Picture: AFP)

‘Looking at the fireball, it is incredibly lucky that no one was at the back of those stores or in the car park of the stores, that no one was even hurt,’ he said.

A pilot reported a ‘catastrophic engine failure’ moments before the plane crashed into a storage area at the rear of the mall, police said.

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

A witness who gave his name as Jason told Australian Broadcasting Corporation he was passing the mall in a taxi when the plane crashed.

‘I saw this plane coming in really low and fast. I couldn’t see the impact but when it hit the building there was a massive fireball,’ he said.

Video captures moment plane carrying four tourists and a pilot crashed into mall

This image made from video shows the site of a plane crash at Essendon Airport in Melbourne, Australia Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2017. An official says a light plane has crashed into a shopping mall in the city of Melbourne. (Channel 9 via AP)
(Channel 9 via AP)
This handout photo released by the Metropolitan Fire Brigade (MFB) media shows firemen putting out a blaze from a light aircraft which exploded as it smashed into a shopping centre near Melbourne on February 21, 2017. A light aircraft exploded on February 21 in a "massive fireball" with police saying none of the five people aboard survived as it smashed into a shopping centre near the Australian city of Melbourne. / AFP PHOTO / METROPOLITAN FIRE BRIGADE (MFB) MEDIA / Handout / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY CREDIT "AFP PHOTO / METROPOLITAN FIRE BRIGADE (MFB) MEDIA" - NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS HANDOUT/AFP/Getty Images
(Picture: AFP)

‘I could feel the heat through the window of the taxi, and then a wheel – it looked like a plane wheel – bounced on the road and hit the front of the taxi as we were driving along.’

The US embassy in Canberra would not comment on a report that the passengers were American citizens, but said it was working with local authorities.

‘We extend our deepest condolences to the families and loved ones of all those who died in today’s tragic crash,’ an embassy statement said.

‘We are unable to confirm any details about the nationality or identity of any of the victims.

The US embassy in Canberra and the consulate in Melbourne are working closely with local authorities to assist in any way possible.’

In this image made from video, smoke billows from the site of a plane crash at Essendon Airport in Melbourne, Australia Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2017. An official says a light plane has crashed into a shopping mall in the city of Melbourne. The mall adjoins the airport. (Channel 9 via AP)
(Channel 9 via AP)
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 21: A view from the tarmac at Melbourne's Essendon Airport is seen after a charter plane leaving the airport crashed on February 21, 2017 in Melbourne, Australia. The charter plane was carrying 5 people when it crashed near the DFO Melbourne Shopping Centre at around 9am this morning. Emergency services are on scene. (Photo by Michael Dodge/Getty Images)
(Picture: Getty)