SAINT BRUNO, Que. â€” Two small planes collided over a bustling Quebec shopping mall on Friday, killing one pilot and seriously injuring the other.
The injured pilot was taken to hospital as were two witnesses who were treated for shock, police said.
Longueuil police tweeted Friday afternoon the other pilot’s injuries were not life-threatening.
“One of the planes crashed on the roof of one of the stores and the other one on the asphalt of the parking lot,” said Nancy Colagiacomo, a spokeswoman for the police force that serves Montreal’s south shore.
Each plane had one male pilot, police said.
A witness said he saw pieces of plane rain down onto the parking lot of the mall, called Promenades Saint-Bruno, located 25 kilometres south of Montreal.
“I saw the shadow of the plane on the parking lot, and I heard the motor so low to the ground and then a loud boom,” said Nheil Martinez, a construction worker who was renovating a part of the mall.
He was outside smoking a cigarette when he saw the plane crash.
“Then we saw pieces of plane fall out of the sky everywhere.”
Martinez said he ran to the plane and saw a man inside, whose body was crushed.
Police set up a security perimeter around the wreckage in the mall’s parking lot.
An officer said kerosene from the plane that crashed on the roof leaked into the shopping mall, forcing police to evacuate the entire building.
Jonathan Vanasse was eating at a restaurant next to the parking lot crash site.
He said he and several others ran outside and saw the plane, which he said was leaking fuel.
“There was just shredded metal,” he said, referring to the wreckage.
“No one was panicking, but people started crying a few minutes later, when they realized a plane had fallen from the sky.”
The Transportation Safety Board of Canada announced it was sending a team of investigators to the site.
It said in a statement both planes were Cessna 152 aircraft operated by Cargair, a pilot-training academy based in nearby Longueuil.
Cargair said in a news release it was working with authorities and offered its sympathies to the families of the pilots.
“We are concentrating our efforts to support our employees and students who are part of the Cargair family,” the company said, adding it wouldn’t be issuing any further comment.
Giuseppe Valiante, The Canadian Press