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4 US tourists and pilot killed in Australian plane crash

MELBOURNE, Australia — An Australian pilot and four American tourists on a golfing vacation were killed when a light plane crashed in flames into a shopping mall on Tuesday shortly after takeoff in the Australian city of Melbourne, officials said.

The five were on a twin-engine Beechcraft Super King Air that crashed about 45 minutes before the Direct Factory Outlet mall in suburban Essendon was to open, Police Minister Lisa Neville said.

The U.S. Embassy in Canberra confirmed that four victims were U.S. citizens. Greg Reynolds De Haven and Russell Munsch have been identified by their families on social media as two of the victims.

The plane had taken off from Melbourne’s second-biggest airport at Essendon for a golfing trip to King Island, 255 kilometers (160 miles) to the south, officials said.

The mall adjoins the airport.

Police Assistant Commissioner Stephen Leane said no one outside the plane was injured.