Crews work to extinguish an aircraft fire after a small plane crashed late Thursday (Oct. 27) afternoon. One person died in the crash and several others remain in hospital.

‘He’s alive and we’re grateful’

White Rock resident and Surrey business owner Troy Zanatta home recovering after Thursday's plane crash in Richmond.

A White Rock man was among the passengers on the small plane that crashed and burst into flames on a Richmond road Thursday afternoon.

Surrey business owner Troy Zanatta is at home recovering having been discharged overnight from hospital.

“He’s alive and we’re grateful,” said his wife Leanne when reached by phone Friday morning.

She wouldn’t confirm reports that Troy had escaped from the wreckage and subsequently went back in to help others, saying only “it’s his story to tell.”

According to Vancouver Airport Authority, a Northern Thunderbird Air Beech King Air 100 flight bound for Kelowna took off from Vancouver International Airport Thursday afternoon with seven passengers and two crew on board. The Transportation Safety Board said the plane then reported trouble and turned around to head back to the airport.

In an audio tape of the pilot’s discussion with air traffic controllers moments before the crash, the pilot sounded calm, but minutes later, the plane came down onto Russ Baker Way at Gilbert Drive, just metres short of the runway.

Witnesses reported seeing the small twin-engine plane banking and then hitting a light standard before making a belly landing.

A car was also hit and numerous other people driving immediately pulled over and assisted people out of the flaming wreckage prior to emergency personnel arriving.

It was confirmed Friday morning that North Vancouver pilot Luc Fortin, 44, died of injuries suffered in the crash. B.C. Coroner Service’s Owen Court said Fortin died around 9 p.m. Thursday evening after suffering fire-related injuries. An autopsy will be conducted today, Court said.

Vancouver Coastal Health said two other people from the plane remain in critical condition while others are in stable but serious condition.

Zanatta, who co-owns Restwell Sleep Products in south Newton, was reportedly one of a group of business people who had chartered the plane to go to Vernon via Kelowna.

Leanne Zanatta is simply happy to have her husband home.

“He’s very blessed.”

– with files from Richmond Review

Surrey North Delta Leader

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