Feb. 19 (UPI) -- Four people were killed in a mid-air collision between two small planes near an airport in southeast Australia, authorities said.
Police said a pilot and flight instructor in each plane died in the collision Tuesday near Mangalore Airport in central Victoria, 75 miles north of Melbourne. The victims were not immediately identified.
Officials said the crash occurred in cloudy conditions at an altitude of 4,000 feet. One plane immediately crashed just outside the airport and the other remained airborne for several miles before going down near the town of Avenel.
One plane, a Piper Seminole, had taken off from Mangalore Airport minutes earlier and was gaining altitude at the time of the collision. The other, a Beechcraft Travel Air, was preparing to land at Mangalore.
Tuesday's was the first mid-air collision in Australia in more than a decade.
Authorities said both flights appeared to be performing student training exercises, although it wasn't immediately known if they were using instruments or flying visually at the time of the crash.
The Australian Transport Safety Bureau sent investigators from Melbourne, Canberra and Brisbane to the crash site and said they are looking at "human factors, aircraft operation and maintenance" as possible causes.