NEWS
12/20/2017 17:11 EST | Updated 12/22/2017 16:42 EST

Canadian pilot killed in small plane crash in Panama City

PANAMA CITY — Authorities in Panama say a Canadian pilot has died after crashing in his small plane shortly after takeoff.

Video published by local media show the aircraft plunging into the ground Wednesday after lifting off from the Marcos A. Gelabert airport, next to a shopping mall in Panama City.

Capt. Robert Katz of Panama's Civil Aviation authority says the man had sold the plane and planned to fly it to the U.S. for delivery.

Katz says he watched the takeoff and "obviously it was very shocking."

Aviation authorities have identified the pilot as retired Canadian aeronautical engineer Ron Simard.

A Facebook profile matching that name says the user lives in Chame in southwestern Panama and is from Meadow Lake, Saskatchewan.

Phone calls to the Canadian Embassy in Panama were not answered.