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A television network is defending a publicity stunt in which an ultra-light plane appeared to have crashed into a car parked across from Montreal's Bell Centre.


The bright-yellow plane — a prop — was placed onto the roof of a banged-up four-wheel utility vehicle early Thursday morning. A production crew on hand pumped artificial smoke into the car as bystanders posed in front of the scene and had photos taken.


The stunt was dreamed up by Canal D to promote its new TV series on life-threatening close calls.


"It was not our intention to put people in danger," explained Élise Beauchemin, director of communications at the French-language cable television specialty channel. "For us, it was just to create curiosity and suspense.


"We wanted to make it look very real."


Beauchemin said public security authorities were alerted ahead of time, including Montreal police and the fire department, "to make sure there wasn't any danger or panic whatsoever."


When CBC initially contacted Montreal police media relations on Thursday, Const. Olivier Lapointe said he was going to the Bell Centre to investigate. Once on the site, Lapointe said police were aware of the stunt and won't comment on it.


"I can't say anything. There is no crime here, and for police to give an interview there has to be a policing situation," he said in French. "There is no policing situation here, just a publicity stunt."


Lapointe said he was flooded with calls from Montreal media outlets that believed a plane had crashed.


(Courtesy of CBC News Montreal)

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