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1 dead, 1 seriously injured as planes collide near Montreal: minister

Last Updated Mar 17, 2017 at 5:10 pm EST

Two small planes collided over a bustling Quebec shopping mall on Friday, killing one pilot and seriously injuring the other.

The injured pilot was transported to hospital as were two witnesses who were treated for shock at Promenades Saint-Bruno, south of Montreal.

Longueuil police tweeted Friday afternoon that the other pilot’s injuries were not life-threatening.

“One of the planes crashed on the roof of one of the stores and the other one on the asphalt of the parking lot,” said Nancy Colagiacomo, a spokeswoman for the police force that serves Montreal’s south shore.

Each plane had one male pilot, police said.

A witness said he saw pieces of plane rain down onto the parking lot of the mall.

“I saw the shadow of the plane on the parking lot, and I heard the motor so low to the ground and then a loud boom,” said Nheil Martinez, a construction worker who was renovating a part of the mall.

He was outside smoking a cigarette when he saw the plane crash.

“Then we saw pieces of plane fall out of the sky everywhere.”

Martinez said he ran to the plane and saw a man inside, whose body was crushed.

Police set up a security perimeter around the wreckage in Saint-Bruno, about 25 kilometres from Montreal.

An officer said kerosene from the plane that crashed on the roof leaked into the shopping mall, forcing police to evacuate the entire building.

Jonathan Vanasse was eating at a restaurant next to the crash site in the lot.

He said he and several others ran outside and saw the plane, which he said was leaking fuel.

“There was just shredded metal,” he said, referring to the wreckage.

“No one was panicking, but people started crying a few minutes later, when they realized a plane had fallen from the sky.”

The Transportation Safety Board of Canada announced it was deploying a team of investigators to the site.

The TSB said in a statement both planes were Cessna 152 aircraft operated by Cargair, a pilot-training academy based in nearby Longueuil.

The company did not want to comment when reached by The Canadian Press.