Montreal

St-Lazare plane crash leaves 2 dead

A homebuilt biplane crashed west of Montreal this afternoon, killing both people on board, after the aircraft went into a vertical dive and crashed into a farmer's field, a witness says.

'The plane was completely vertical to the ground, going straight down,' witness says

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      • Transportation Safety Board says aircraft was a homemade biplane
      • Aircraft engine taken to facility for analysis

      Two people died when a small homebuilt biplane went into a steep dive and crashed into a farmer's field west of Montreal this afternoon.

      The aircraft came to rest near Cité des Jeunes Boulevard, a few hundred metres from the landing strip at the St-Lazare, Que., airport.

      A spokesperson for the Transportation Safety Board said late Thursday that it appears the aircraft, a homebuilt biplane, was trying to land at the airport.

      Danielle St-Hilaire, who owns a bicycle shop that overlooks the field, said she saw the aircraft go down.

      "I was looking out thinking what a nice day it was when I saw something and yelled at my husband, 'Hey, there's a plane about to crash,'" St-Hilaire said.

      "The plane was completely vertical to the ground, going straight down." 

      ​She said the impact of the crash caused a huge fireball and then the tail of the plane broke off.

      Victims pronounced dead at scene

      Quebec provincial police said the crash happened about 12:30 p.m. ET. 

      Firefighters were called to the scene to put out the fire.

      "Unfortunately, two people were in the airplane and were pronounced dead," said provincial police Sgt. Joyce Kemp.

      Kemp said the victims haven't been identified. 

      The co-operative of paramedics for the Montérégie region, in southwest Quebec, originally reported the plane was an ultralight.

      But late Thursday a spokesperson for the Transportation Safety Board told CBC it was a biplane, a fixed-wing aircraft with two main wings stacked one above the other.

      Investigators have taken the engine and other parts of the plane to a nearby TSB facility for analysis.  

      The bodies of the victims were taken to the coroner.

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