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Two dead after light planes clip wings over Fraser Valley

Police say a second person has died after two planes flying east of Vancouver clipped wings and spiralled to the ground.

Sgt. Miriam Dickson of the Mission RCMP says one aircraft recovered, landing in a field, but the second crashed into a slough near the town of Deroche, killing the pilot and the passenger.

Sgt. Dickson says the passenger died at the scene and the pilot was pronounced dead after being airlifted to Royal Columbian Hospital.

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The names of the victims have not been released but police say they were both men in their 50's.

Clayton Kummel, who watched the crash while driving home from work, says he rushed through the knee-deep freezing water of the slough to help, but both men were unconscious.

The planes were part of a flying formation of four aircraft that took off from the Langley airport.

Bill Yearwood of the Transportation Safety Board says two investigators with the agency are on the scene.

"I saw two planes spiralling down," said Mr. Kummel, a licensed pilot who parked his car and rushed through the knee-deep freezing water of the slough toward the wreckage.

"I called the police as I was wading across. The passenger was already under water and the pilot's head was leaning onto the passengers arm and he was kind of gurgling half in the water," Mr. Kummel said in an interview with The Canadian Press.

"I pulled the pilot's head up straight and I pulled the (passenger's) head out the water. I tried talking to them but they were unconscious. Finally another guy came over," Mr. Kummel said.

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"We were trying to get the pilot out and then I held the seatbelt around the passenger's head so it wouldn't fall in the water," Mr. Kummel said.

The passenger was not bloodied, but the pilot had a gash on the head according to Mr. Kummel.

"The water was too deep to drag him to shore," said Mr. Kummel.

Within less than five minutes, rescue crew and paramedics were on the scene, and Mr. Kummel said he watched as the two men were pulled out onto stretchers.

Rick Dekker, of the North Fraser Volunteer Fire Department, said his unit were called to the scene in the Mission area, about an hour's drive east of Vancouver, where the plane had crashed and a second landed in a nearby field.

Mr. Dekker said he lives not far from the scene, and one of his neighbours who saw the planes overhead called him to report the crash.

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"Four light aircraft were flying through the sunny skies, two of them made contact," Mr. Dekker said in an interview.

"He saw four flying over, he saw contact, he saw one go down."

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