A small passenger aircraft crashed on Russ Baker Way, a busy street from Richmond, Canada, injuring all nine aboard, but miraculously all passengers were alive.
The aircraft broke in half and burst into flames as it hit the ground near Vancouver International Airport on Thursday afternoon.
Three people, two of them believed to be crew members, are in critical condition. A person on the ground was also injured in the crash and taken to hospital.
The Beech King Air 100 caught fire after it came to rest on a street just 900 meteres from Vancouver International Airport.
Witness Steven Baran told CBC News that the aircraft slammed onto the road and slid into a car before stopping.
Steven Baran, who works for the post office at the airport, said no-one in the car appeared to be hurt and his first instinct was to help the plane passengers.
“The rear door was ajar and one of the fellows pulled it down. One after another, we just pulled passengers out real quick.”
According to Alyssa Polinsky, spokeswoman for Vancouver Coastal Health, three people were taken to Vancouver General Hospital in critical condition, while three more were stable.
Another three people were taken to the nearby Richmond General Hospital with injuries considered to be non-life threatening.
A pedestrian was also sent to hospital after being struck by a flying object. The person’s condition was unknown.
Two people in a car were also reported to have suffered minor injuries.
During an interview, Alyssa Polinsky said:
”We have everything from burns to fractures and back injuries.”
She also said she had no information on any identities.
The aircraft capacity is up to nine passengers.
“The plane’s basically broken in half, as far as I can see,” said Graeme Wallace, who works at a nearby pilot supply store.
Graeme Wallace also said about half of the plane was burning, but emergency crews put out the fire.
The aircraft was operated by British Columbia-based Northern Thunderbird Air and was bound for Kelowna.
According to Bill Yearwood, from the Transportation Safety Board of Canada, the flight took off at 3:40 p.m. but turned around when the crew got the “indication of a problem” about 15 minutes after take-off.
The plane did not make it back to the airport, crashing on Russ Baker Way in Richmond, about 900 metres short of the runway.
In an audio recording, obtained by CBC News, the pilot can be heard telling air traffic control that he is declaring an emergency and turning back to Vancouver, but is confident he can reach the airfield.
The air traffic controller asks the pilot to confirm whether he “doesn’t need equipment or help” on the runway.
The pilot responds: “Negative, everything’s good here at the moment”.
Visibility was good with clear skies at the time of the crash, according to meteorologists.
Vancouver Airport Authority went into emergency mode at 4:12 p.m. local time.