Plane crash victim a prominent US bankruptcy attorney

AUSTIN, Texas gt;gt; The Latest on a plane crash in Australia that killed the Australian pilot and four American tourists (all times local):

9:45 am

A Texas law firm has confirmed that one of five men killed in a plane crash in Australia was a founding partner who litigated some of the most prominent bankruptcy cases in the US

Munsch Hardt said in a statement that Russell Munsch had retired but was “one of the best of all time.”

Munsch died Tuesday when a light plane in which he was a passenger crashed into a shopping mall shortly after takeoff in the city of Melbourne.

The firm said Tuesday that Munsch was involved in the 2001 bankruptcy proceedings for Houston-based Enron Corp., one of the largest energy companies in the world before its collapse.

He also counseled Nelson Bunker Hunt, the oil tycoon whose financial dealings led to what’s considered the largest personal bankruptcy proceeding in history.

A light plane carrying five people crashed into a shopping mall on Tuesday in the city of Melbourne, officials said.

There were no immediate reports of causalities, but the twin-engine Beechcraft Super King Air crashed about 45 minutes before the Direct Factory Outlet mall in suburban Essendon was to open, Police Minister Lisa Neville said.

The plane had taken off from Melbourne’s second-biggest airport at Essendon on a chartered flight to King Island, 255 kilometers (160 miles) to the south, Neville said.

The mall adjoins the airport.

Police Superintendent Mick Fruen said a pilot reported a “catastrophic engine failure” moments before the plane crashed into a storage area at the rear of the mall.

Police and paramedics rushed to the crash site, where firefighters doused the flames.