Government officials said 14 on board had been injured, but that there were no known fatalities in the accident.
“According to our current information and the Air France chief there, there are no casualties,” an Air France spokeswoman said, according to Reuters.
The Associated Press reported that some passengers could be seen climbing from the plane. Police spokeswoman Diane Cossitt said scanner reports indicated the passengers and crew were evacuated, according to the Associated Press.
The plane, an Airbus A340, was en route from Paris when it skidded off the runway at about 4 p.m. It stopped in a wooded area near one of Toronto’s busiest highways, where thick grey smoke and flames could be seen billowing from the fuselage.
The Associated Press reported Steve Shaw, a vice president of the Greater Toronto Airport Authority, as saying the jet had overshot the runway by 200 yards and that he believed the fire broke out after the passengers were evacuated.
It was too early to tell what caused the crash, but CNN reported that severe thunderstorms had occurred in the area beforehand.
Roel Bramer, a passenger seated at the back of the plane, told CNN that “we had a hell of a roller coaster going down the ravine.”
“All I could think of was get out,” he said. He escaped through an emergency chute.
The crash is the first major airline accident in North America since an American Airlines jet went down in a New York City neighborhood in 2001, killing 265 people.