Small plane crashes near Vancouver airport

October 27, 2011 - 9:50 PM
Plane Crash

Investigators look over the wreckage of a passenger plane that crashed on a road while on approach to Vancouver International Airport in Richmond, British Columbia, on Thursday October 27, 2011. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Darryl Dyck)

RICHMOND, British Columbia (AP) — A small plane broke into pieces as it crashed on a city street while approaching Vancouver's airport Thursday afternoon, injuring all nine people aboard. No one was killed.

Five of the injured were in critical condition, while four other passengers had injuries that were considered non-life threatening, said Kelsie Carwithen with the British Columbia ambulance service.

The plane, a Beech King Air 100, can carry up to nine passengers.

The plane landed near a street leading to the airport, leaving large sections of the plane in the grassy median.

"The plane's basically broken in half, as far as I can see," said Graeme Wallace, who works at a nearby pilot supply store. He said about half of the plane was burning, but emergency crews put out the fire.

The plane was bound for Kelowna but turned around. An airport statement said the Vancouver Airport Authority went into emergency mode at 4:12 p.m. local time (2312 GMT).

Officials for the airport said the plane is operated by the British Columbia-based Northern Thunderbird Air.

A database run by the Flight Safety Foundation shows Northern Thunderbird Air had two deadly small-plane crashes in 1975 and 1977.