Australia planes collide north of Melbourne, killing four

(BBC) – Four people have been killed after two planes collided midair in the Australian state of Victoria, police have confirmed.

The incident involving the two twin-engine light aircraft took place near Mangalore airport north of Melbourne.

A police spokesman said it was possible that the two pilots may not have seen each other due to cloud cover.

Both planes had two people on board and had taken off from different airports, police said. It is thought to be the country’s first midair crash in more than a decade.

“We’re not sure why both aircraft were on the same trajectory or why they were in that area, but unfortunately they’ve collided mid-air,” Victoria Police Inspector Peter Koger told ABC News.

Both had been “extensively damaged” before they hit the ground, he said.

The aircraft was travelling at about 4,000ft (1,219m) at the time of the collision, a Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) spokesperson said.

Both were engaged in flight training when the crash occurred, 9 News reported.

One plane was a Piper-Seminole aircraft operated by flying school Moorabbin Aviation Services, the news organisation said, with the second plane operated from the Peninsula Aero Club at Tyabb.

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