Plane crashes into building north of Toronto, 2 dead
Published Tuesday, May 25, 2010 6:32PM EDT
Two people are dead after a small four-seater plane crashed on to the roof of a small building north of Toronto shortly after takeoff from the Buttonville Airport.
The pilot and a passenger of the plane were confirmed dead late Tuesday afternoon.
Witnesses reported the plane was rolling and was trailing smoke before it crashed.
"It looked like it had just taken off and it was trying to climb to a pretty good altitude and I could see it wobbling -- it didn't look too stable and I saw black smoke coming out the back," Bill Colville told CTV Toronto.
The crash was reported at 12:26 p.m at 8885 Woodbine Avenue, north of Highway 407 in Markham.
Derek Sifton, the president of Toronto Airways, which operates the Buttonville Airport, told ctvtoronto.ca the plane was a Cirrus SR22 and confirmed it crashed shortly after takeoff.
The plane normally flies out of Burlington, but was having work done on its radio. The pilot did not need to file a flight plan because of the short distance, Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti said.
Officials could not immediately identify the pilot or the passenger.
Louise Lorenc, York EMS operation supervisor, described the scene as a "recovery operation."
Emergency officials evacuated the building and have cordoned off the area. There were no serious injuries reported on the ground.
A witness to the crash said he ran into the upper floor of the building to help clear people out. He said the wing of the plane came through the roof, and water and fuel were pouring out.
Thick black smoke was billowing off the top of the small building as firefighters arrived at the scene and quickly doused the fire.
Overhead shots show that virtually the entire fuselage of the plane disintegrated, with only the tail remaining.
A small portion of the building's roof appears to have collapsed.
The building housed Thinkway Toys, which has made toys for the new "Toy Story" film.
Toy designer Anthony Vanbruggen, 48, said he was in the building when the plane hit.
"As soon as we opened the door the roof was down, fuel or liquid of some sort was coming toward us, so we backed off," Vanbruggen told The Canadian Press.
"There was no smoke but the fumes were crazy."
Police said 14 employees were inside the building and all are safe. EMS officials said there were two with minor injuries.
The crash scene is across from Buttonville airport. The airport operates the largest flight school in Canada and is the country's tenth busiest airport, according to its website.
Seneca College has confirmed the plane was not being operated by their training school.
The manager of a nearby hotel said an explosion could be heard several minutes after the flight crashed.
The Transportation Safety Board of Canada is investigating the accident.
With a report from CTV Toronto's Janice Golding