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Multiple fatalities reported in Gabriola Island plane crash

Last Updated Dec 11, 2019 at 9:08 am PST

Summary

A small plane has crashed on Gabriola Island, and multiple people are dead

A witness describes hearing the 'roar' of the engine, and says the crash shook her house

Gabriola RCMP is at the scene, and has been joined by the Transportation Safety Board

GABRIOLA ISLAND, B.C. (NEWS 1130) – Multiple people have died after a small plane crashed on the northwest corner of Gabriola Island, just off the coast of Nanaimo, early Tuesday evening.

Andy Watson with the BC Coroners Service confirmed “multiple fatalities” in the crash that happened around 6:30 p.m., but could not give an exact number. How many passengers were on board, the model of the plane and what caused it go down aren’t yet known.

The plane crashed in a wooded area and burst into flames, causing nearby trees to catch fire, according to witness and Gabriola resident Bette Lou Hagen.

Hagan was reading a book when the plane crashed less than a kilometre away from her home.

“I was just sitting reading, and all of the sudden this horrible roar, it just sounded so loud […] a roar, and then a really loud crash that shook my house,” she says. “My husband and I both ran outside wondering what it was, and we could hear people yelling.”

She says it was a frightening experience.

“I’m still shaking. I’m just really shocked. We’re so lucky it didn’t hit any house, at least not that we know of. It was so loud, I’ve never heard anything like it. It was just terrifying.”

RCMP spokesman Corporal Chris Manseau says the crash will be investigated by multiple agencies including the Transportation Safety Board.

Sophie Wistaff of the TSB said three investigators will be on site Wednesday morning to begin gathering information to determine what happened.

With files from the Canadian Press