Jul 7, 2012 / 2:30 pm
8 p.m. Update July 7: Shortly after 1:00 p.m. today the RCMP and the BC Coroners Service started their investigation into the crash of a twin engine Piper airplane that had just taken off from the Vernon Airport and crashed in Marshall Field, a sports complex in Vernon.
RCMP confirm the pilot was 59-year-old Jim Langley of Kelowna, and his passenger was 55-year-old Port Moody resident Karim Makalai. The aircraft caught fire and burned on impact; the wreckage has now been moved from the site and is being held for further investigation.
The BC Coroners Service has now taken over this file. The RCMP will continue to assist them by interviewing witnesses.
Two people are dead after a twin engine plane crashed shortly after 1:00 p.m. Saturday afternoon.
People on and around Marshall Field in Vernon watched in horror as the small plane came crashing down to Earth.
RCMP Spokesperson Gord Molendyk says the plane had just left from Vernon Airport.
Witnesses report hearing one of the engines sputter shortly after take off. The plane immediately banked to the left toward the Marshall soccer fields.
One of its wings hit the ground, sending the plane into a cartwheel, and causing it to burst into flames. Both occupants, a pilot and a passenger, were killed instantly.
The plane came down just near the roundabout outside the Vantage One Soccer Centre, striking some unoccupied park benches in the process. The RCMP says it's fortunate that no one was in the area at the time.
"There was a wall of flame after this aircraft hit the ground," says Molendyk.
"There are reports that we have a couple of skydivers that were filming part of what happens. So there may be some footage of this particular accident, which will help investigators later on. There were a number of people in close proximity, not on this sportsfield, thank goodness. There is no injuries on the ground reported that I am aware of."
Their identities have not been released.
The RCMP, BC Coroners service and the Transportation Safety Board are investigating the crash and will release more details later.
Vernon plane crash-July 7, 2012
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