1 dead, another injured in plane crash near Montreal's Île Sainte-Hélène, police say

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The plane was towing a banner when it crashed shortly after 6 p.m. ET, according to the Transportation Safety Board of Canada. (Name withheld - image credit)
The plane was towing a banner when it crashed shortly after 6 p.m. ET, according to the Transportation Safety Board of Canada. (Name withheld - image credit)

One person is dead and another was sent to hospital with unknown injuries after a small plane crashed near Montreal's Île Sainte-Hélène on Saturday evening, Montreal police say.

There were only two people on board, Service de Police de la Ville de Montréal spokesperson Véronique Comtois said. According to the Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB), the passenger died and the pilot remains in hospital as of Sunday night.

Police and firefighters were dispatched to the scene, as well as a team of investigators with the TSB on Saturday, according to a release.

The plane, a Cessna 172, was towing a banner with a marriage proposal when it went down shortly after 6 p.m. ET, TSB spokesperson Chris Krepski said.

Krepski said the proposal banner, which is believed to have fallen into the St-Lawrence river shortly before the crash, hasn't been found.

Mathieu Wagner/Radio-Canada
Mathieu Wagner/Radio-Canada

Photos from the area showed a large cloud of black smoke in a forested area following the crash.

Krepski said officials received reports of engine trouble on the aircraft, but investigators have yet to determine the cause of the accident. The TSB gathered details of the crash at the scene and will be sending the remaining debris to an Ottawa lab to continue testing Sunday.

The small plane went down in Parc Dieppe, near Habitat 67. It crashed next to the de la Concorde Bridge, which leads to Île Sainte-Hélène where the Osheaga Get Together music festival is in full swing.

In a statement posted to Facebook, Evenko, the event promoter behind Osheaga, said the festival has not been affected by the crash.

"Evenko confirms that no activity on the Osheaga site was affected by this unfortunate incident and that programming is continuing its normal course," the statement reads.

'The impact was significant,' says aviation expert

Jean Lapointe, a civil aviation expert and a former professional pilot, says the plane model is safe and well-known, but banners — which add weight and resistance — paired with an engine problem, further complicate the flight.

"In general, it's experienced pilots that do this work," he said. "For there to be a fire ... the fuel system had to break, which shows that the impact was significant.

"I'm surprised that one of the two people onboard survived."

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