4 die in mid-air plane collision in Australia

File: A crash site

The incident took place near Mangalore Airport, some 120 kilometres north of Melbourne on Wednesday morning.

“Emergency services were called to two separate crash scenes.

“It is believed that two aircraft collided mid-air before crashing,’’ Victoria Police’s leading Senior Constable, Kendra Jackson, said in a statement.

“Two occupants in each aircraft have died at the scenes.

“The four persons are yet to be identified.’’

Later, another police officer at the scene clarified that the two aircraft collided mid-air, but were not incinerated, before crashing to the ground.

“One plane almost certainly crashed immediately and the other plane crashed about two kilometres north from here and both were extensively damaged prior to colliding with the ground,’’ Peter Koger, a local area commander, told reporters.

Police said the Australian Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) and the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) have been notified.

CASA said one of the planes was a Piper PA-44 Seminole twin-engine registered to a local training centre, while the second was a privately-owned Beech Travel Air D95A.

Police, CASA and ATSB are all currently investigating. (dpa/NAN)