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Two Confirmed Dead After Small Plane Crashes Near Buttonville Airport

Two people have been confirmed dead after a four-seater plane crashed into a small office building less than a kilometre away from Buttonville Airport in Markham.

Shortly before 12:30pm, the Cessna crashed into the roof of Thinkway Toys on Woodbine, south of 16th Ave. Luckily, none of the 14 employees in the building were seriously hurt.

“I was sitting there doing my job. There was a big thump. I thought it was something falling in the warehouse,” said Thinkway designer Anthony Vanbruggen, who attempted a rescue.

“I went in through a side door up to the roof, but the fumes were too bad, so I came back down.”

Witnesses say the Cessna was trailing smoke and rolled before it crashed and exploded. The blast caused structural damage to the roof. And although fire crews quickly doused the fire, several hours later, they were still unable to safely reach the bodies.

Experts say engine failure or a mechanical problem may have caused the crash, and the damage could have been much worse.

“There’s so much going through the cockpit at that point in time. You’re in an emergency situation trying to get aircraft down safely. There could have been more fatalities if [the pilot] hit the street,” said Phyl Durdy of Flight Line Training Services.

The Transportation Safety Board is investigating and – as there are no black boxes on Cessnas – will have to listen to tower logs and recordings to see if they can determine what caused the crash.