Two pilots die as cargo plane slams nose-first into Richmond, B.C., parking lot

A twin-engine cargo plane was transporting blood for Canada Blood Services when it crashed, killing two pilots just kilometres shy of the runway at Vancouver International Airport.

RICHMOND, B.C. — A twin-engine cargo plane was transporting blood for Canada Blood Services when it crashed, killing two pilots just kilometres shy of the runway at Vancouver International Airport.

“We’ve heard that one of the cargos on the plane was blood and that they were transporting that from Victoria to Vancouver,” said RCMP Insp. Janis Gray.

The Piper Navajo nosedived into a parking lot in a light industrial area of Richmond, B.C., just after 10 p.m. Thursday night, exploding in flames on impact.

RCMP Sgt. Peter Thiessen said it’s too soon to speculate on what caused the crash.

“There’s not very much there that resembles an aircraft,” he said of the crash site.

Mahmood Awan said a friend called him late Thursday to say a plane had crashed into the back of his transmission shop.

“I saw the pictures on the TV and I was very much shocked that happened to my shop,” Awan said.

He said he quickly left to check out the scene for himself but couldn’t get close because police had cordoned off the area.

Six or seven cars parked outside Awan’s shop have been destroyed, along with a couple of old buses where he stored transmissions, he said.

His biggest concern isn’t his property or what was on it.

“Two young pilots lost their lives on my property so I’m very much concerned about their lives,” he said.