British Columbia

North Vancouver plane crash blamed on empty fuel tanks

A small plane that crashed while attempting an emergency landing in North Vancouver Sunday ran out of fuel, investigators say.

The Cessna had just crossed the Lions Gate Bridge when the engine stopped running

A small plane that crashed near McKeen Avenue in North Vancouver, B.C., on Sunday, June 11, 2017. (Christer Waara/CBC)

A small plane that crashed while attempting an emergency landing in North Vancouver Sunday ran out of fuel, investigators say.

"The right wing tank was empty and the left wing tank contained a small amount of fuel," said Transportation Safety Board spokesperson Alexandre Fournier on Monday morning.

The Cessna 172 was returning from Tofino to Langley with a pilot and three passengers on Sunday afternoon when the engine stopped just after it crossed the Lions Gate Bridge.

Two of the passengers on the plane suffered minor injuries, while the others aboard were unharmed. (Christer Waara/CBC)

The pilot attempted to make an emergency landing in an industrial area west of Lonsdale when the plane got caught on some wires and ended up overturned in a fence at the end of McKeen Avenue.

Remarkably only two of the passengers suffered minor injuries.

Fourneir said investigators have spoken to the pilot and passengers and the investigation has now been completed.

'You're really worried about getting yourself killed' 

The pilot, Octavio Hernandez, says he looked inside the tank and used a tool to measure the amount of fuel. He believes it's possible that fuel leaked out on scene, and that's why the TSB said the tanks were empty.

"You are really worried about getting yourself killed, or even worse, I was more worried about crashing into someone and injuring them or causing the death of some innocent people," he said. 

Hernandez said his first thought was to land on a highway, but he quickly realized it was rush hour.

"I thought it was not a really good option, since I could have hit a car. I had a park on my left side, but I looked at it, and then I saw people ...playing around. I didn't want to do something that could have put other people at risk." 

Octavio Hernandez, the pilot of the plane, said he relied on his years of experience to guide the plane to a landing resulting in no fatalities. (CBC)

With files from Anita Bathe

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