By Steph McNicol
FOUR occupants of two twin-engine training aircraft have died after a collision in mid-air just east of Mangalore after 11am on Wednesday.
Victoria Police confirmed the two occupants in the Mangalore plane were a 27-year-old woman from Melbourne West and the other a 79-year-old man from Maiden Gully.
The occupants of the second plane were a 30-year-old man from Cheltenham and a 47-year-old man from Seaford.
Police and emergency services were called to the scene at 11.25am where the aircraft collided resulting in one hitting the ground almost immediately, while the other travelled approximately two kilometres north before crashing.
One plane crashed near Lambing Gully Road and the other fell on Avenel-Seymour Road.
Mitchell Area Inspector Peter Koger confirmed both aircraft had permission from air traffic control to be in action.
“At this point we are not sure why both planes were on the same trajectory or in the same area, but unfortunately both occupants in the aircraft are deceased,” Insp. Koger said.
“I can confirm that both planes were flying in a similar area, one plane had just left from the Mangalore airport, the other plane had come from another airport and we are still trying to establish what that is.”
Since the initial media briefing, authorities confirmed the second plane had departed from Tyabb, near Mornington Peninsula.
Insp. Koger said both planes suffered extensive damage after their initial collision and witnesses saw one aircraft descending at high speed while the other continued to travel north for a short time.
The Inspector confirmed one flight was a training flight and said it was a devastating scene to investigate.
“It is a big tragedy for both families. I know it was a training flight, it’s really upsetting to see, and for emergency services,” he said.
The investigation of the circumstances surrounding the collision has been handed over to the Australian Transport Safety Bureau.
It will be ongoing and a report will be prepared for the Coroner.