Passenger killed as plane flying 'will you marry me’ banner crashes on island

By Leonie Chao-Fong

A small plane carrying a “Will You Marry Me?” banner crashed onto an island, killing a passenger and injuring the pilot.

The plane, a 1974 Cessna 172, crashed in Parc Dieppe in the Canadian city of Monteal at around 6pm on Saturday, not far from where a music festival was taking place.

Video shows the plane engulfed in a great ball of fire moments after crashing as emergency services rushed to the scene.

Police were seen taping off nearby streets and patrolling the St. Lawrence River nearby where the marriage proposal sign had fallen.

The plane’s passenger was killed while the pilot survived and was taken to hospital.

Canadian officials received reports of engine trouble on the 1974 Cessna after it took off from St-Mathieu-de-Laprairie Airport (CTV)

It is unclear whether the passenger killed was the person who had intended to propose, authorities said on Monday.

The pilot has been identified as Gian Piero Ciambella, owner of an aerial advertising agency Aerogram.

The other person on board has not been publicly identified.

The small plane took off from the St-Mathieu-de-Laprairie Airport at 5.46pm, according to CTV News, with evidence on the ground suggesting that when the plane touched the ground, it bounced and spun before coming to a rest.

Police were seen taping off nearby streets and patrolling the St. Lawrence River nearby (CTV)

One witness, Laurel Scala, said she saw the plane flying the banner shortly before it crashed.

She said: ”It seemed like the normal height that a plane like that would fly when it has a banner.

“We struggled to read what the banner said... It said ‘Will you marry me."

The cause of the crash has not been determined, but authorities had received reports of engine trouble on the Cessna 172 aircraft, according to the Canadian Press. The plane engine has been sent to Ottawa for examination.

The plane's sole passenger was killed and pilot Gian Piero Ciambella (pictured) was injured (Facebook)

“We are looking to speak to the pilot when possible,” a spokesperson for Canada's Transportation Safety Board said.

They continued: “We haven't ruled out anything yet. We need to take a close look at everything.”

The banner carrying the marriage proposal has not been found as of Sunday.

Mr Ciambella made headlines in 2016 when he made an emergency landing on Parc Avenue in front of Jeanne-Mance Park after his engine stalled.

The accident, which resulted in no injuries, earned him the Robert-Piché award for achieving a life-saving, "extraordinary piloting feat”, according to CBC news.

"Mr Ciambella is a very experienced pilot," said Paul Fréchette, a pilot and former investigator with the Transportation Safety Board.

Montreal Mayor Valerie Plante said her team was monitoring developments following the crash.

She wrote on Twitter : “My thoughts are with the family of the deceased.”

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