Small plane crashes into building near Toronto

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Pilot, passenger aboard aircraft killed

The pilot and a passenger of a small plane were killed Tuesday when the aircraft crashed into an office building less than 500 metres from Buttonville Airport, officials said.

The four-seater, single-engine aircraft was trailing a thin plume of white smoke and banked over a parking lot before it crashed through the roof of Thinkway Toys, just north of Toronto.

A firefighter runs in front of Thinkway Toys in Markam, Ontario as the remains of an aircraft burn on the roof Tuesday. - Photo by The Canadian Press

Toronto -

The pilot and a passenger of a small plane were killed Tuesday when the aircraft crashed into an office building less than 500 metres from Buttonville Airport, officials said.

The four-seater, single-engine aircraft was trailing a thin plume of white smoke and banked over a parking lot before it crashed through the roof of Thinkway Toys, just north of Toronto.

A section of the Cirrus SR20 could be seen on the roof, at Woodbine Avenue and Hooper Road, engulfed in flames following the crash.

The blaze was quickly doused by emergency crews.

There were no serious injuries in the building.

"It has been confirmed that there were two people in the airplane," said Dennis Flaherty, a spokesman for the Town of Markham.

"It had just stopped down in Buttonville temporarily and had just taken off from Buttonville and was experiencing problems when it crashed."

Markham fire Chief Bill Snowball said structural concerns with the building were preventing them from getting to the plane. From what they could see, Snowball added, the pilot and the passenger were dead.

The plane normally flies out of Burlington, about 70 kilometres away, but was having work done on its radio.

The pilot didn't file a flight plan because of the short distance, so officials did not immediately know who was on board, said Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti.

Markham EMS said there were two minor injuries among the employees of Thinkway Toys, which makes products for the new "Toy Story" movie.

Toy designer Anthony Vanbruggen, 48, was one of the 14 workers who escaped the building.

"As soon as we opened the door the roof was down, fuel or liquid of some sort was coming toward us, so we backed off," Vanbruggen said late Tuesday.

"There was no smoke, but the fumes were crazy."

He described the explosion that followed the crash as a "little fireball."

Buttonville Airport is surrounded by densely populated neighbourhoods and is one of the country's Top 10 busiest airfields.

Scarpitti said there have been incidents at Buttonville, but no deaths recently. "We haven't had a fatality associated with Buttonville in a long, long time, as far back as we can remember and we are checking the records."

Organizations: Buttonville Airport

Geographic location: Toronto, Markham, Woodbine Avenue Hooper Road Burlington

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