Update: Two passengers killed in Kelowna plane crash identified

Reports indicate Jim Prentice was returning home to Calgary from a golf trip to Kelowna with his daughter's father-in-law.

Jim Prentice

Jim Prentice



Two of the four people killed in a Thursday night plane crash north of Kelowna have now been identified.

Former Alberta premier Jim Prentice, 60, and Ken Gellatly, the father-in-law of one of Prentice’s daughters, were aboard the small plane.

“To lose two family members at once is unbelievably painful and we are certain you will appreciate and respect our wishes for privacy at this time and the coming weeks,” said the Prentice family in a statement.

Prentice was a former Alberta PC premier and former federal cabinet minister in the Conservative government of Stephen Harper. ( Read more on Prentice’s background here) He left federal politics in 2010 and took a job as the senior executive vice-president of CIBC. He later ran for the Alberta PC leadership.

Social media sites were flooded with homages to Prentice, shortly after news of his death was released.

Among those struck by the news was former Kelowna Lake Country MP Ron Cannan, who worked closely with Prentice from 2006 to 2010. They also shared a lot of downtime having to commute back and forth to Ottawa together.

“He always had time for people and was very well respected from all political parties and staff and media,” said Cannan, adding that he related to Prentice as a family man above all else, and the two often discussed their daughters in those moments.

“He was a gentleman.”

An instance of Prentice’s character that stood out to Cannan was when the then industry minister was visiting Kelowna for business, and they’d taken time out to play a game of golf.

One of Cannan’s constituents had an idea for a business he wanted to pitch, and Cannan invited him along.

“He rode around on the course with (Prentice) for awhile,” said Cannan, noting that the conversation eventually led to a local business being launched successfully. He said Prentice also formed a good relationship with the Westbank First Nation, when he was cabinet as minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development.

Premier Christy Clark offered some insight into Prentice’s character in the hours after the crash.

“This is a terrible loss for our country. It’s a rare privilege to meet people of Jim’s character in any walk of life. He was a man of his word, would keep confidences, and his handshake was worth more than any written agreement,” said Clark, in a statement.

“Simply by being himself, Jim Prentice elevated political discourse in this country with his dignity, kindness, and focus. Jim devoted his life to making Canada better – and he succeeded.”

While Prentice’s political colleagues have confirmed his death through outpourings, the authorities are taking a cautious approach.

RCMP Cpl. Dan Moskaluk said the coroner is dealing with the recovery of the four killed in the crash, while the transportation board will investigate the wreckage to determine what caused the plane to crash.

“It was a catastrophic crash and there were no survivors,” said Moskaluk.

He confirmed the Cessna Citation private business aircraft, owned by Norjet, a Calgary-based firm, had departed Kelowna International Airport at about 8:30 p.m. Thursday night en route to Springbank, outside of Calgary, and that weather conditions were heavy rain.

“I know that heavy rain was felt across the Okanagan Valley but difficult to say if that was an issue in this case,” he said.

The Transportation Safety Board released a statement late Friday saying that there were no emergency calls or signals from the high impact crash that scattered debris over a vast space.

RCMP, with the help of a police dog, were able to get to the scene just before midnight, and received assistance from local search and rescue volunteers.

“It’s a complex scene right now and it will take some time for the investigation of the crash site to be completed,” Moskaluk said.

“The terrain is hilly  and densely forested, but we were able to access the site from a nearby forest service road.”

“Investigators located the crash site approximately four kilometres into a heavily wooded area east of Lake Country,” Moskaluk said in an earlier news release.

The site of the crash was northeast of Winfield, about four kms north of Beaver Lake Road and about 18 kms north of Kelowna.

Kelowna RCMP and Lake Country RCMP detachments were alerted by the Surrey Air Traffic Control Centre that they had lost contact with a Citation jet shortly after its takeoff from Kelowna airport.

 

 

––––––––

 

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Salmon Arm RCMP nabbed two Calgary suspects in an allegedly stolen vehicle on Highway 1 on Nov. 22, 2020. (File photo)
Salmon Arm RCMP use spike belts on Highway 1 to nab Calgary suspects

Arrests occur after Revelstoke RCMP clock allegedly stolen vehicle going faster than 160 km/h

RCMP Cpl. Cory Lepine pictured at BC Livestock Producers Co. in Kamloops, Nov. 16. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
Meet B.C.’s only cowboy cop; a voice for the livestock industry

Cpl. Cory Lepine serves as a bridge between the law and those who make a living off the land

The Kootenay International Junior Hockey League is mouring the death of former president Len Dergousoff of Salmon Arm. The longtime Revelstoke Grizziies board member, who was president from 1999-2002, lost a year-long battle with cancer at age 80. (Dergousoff family photo)
Former KIJHL president dies after cancer battle

Len Dergousoff, 80, of Salmon Arm, was longtime Revelstoke Grizzlies exec, president 1999-2002

Social media, including sites like Facebook, play an important role in contemporary society. (Dreamstime/TNS photo)
QUIZ: How much do you know about social behaviour?

Social conventions, including social distancing, are part of living in a society

Kyle Charles poses for a photo in Edmonton on Friday, Nov. 20, 2020. Marvel Entertainment, the biggest comic book publisher in the world, hired the 34-year-old First Nations illustrator as one of the artists involved in Marvel Voice: Indigenous Voices #1 in August. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
VIDEO: Indigenous illustrator of new Marvel comic hopes Aboriginal women feel inspired

Kyle Charles says Indigenous women around the world have reached out

B.C. Liberal MLA Shirley Bond questions NDP government ministers in the B.C. legislature, Feb. 19, 2020. (Hansard TV)
Cabinet veteran Shirley Bond chosen interim leader of B.C. Liberals

28-member opposition prepares for December legislature session

(The Canadian Press)
‘Electric blue’ fentanyl sparks drug alert in Vernon

Interior Health issues alert based on testing; no reports of overdoses linked to specific substance at this time

Motorists wait to enter a Fraser Health COVID-19 testing facility, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, November 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
COVID-19: What do rising positivity rates mean for B.C.? It’s not entirely clear

Coronavirus cases are on the rise but the province has not unveiled clear thresholds for further measures

Two fibreglass bees were stolen from Vernon’s Planet Bee Honey Farm Nov. 22, 2020. (Facebook)
Thief buzzes off with bee sculptures from Vernon honey farm

Planet Bee lost two bee sculptures Sunday night

A rider carves a path on Yanks Peak Saturday, Nov. 21. Two men from Prince George went missing on the mountain the next day. One of them, Colin Jalbert, made it back after digging out his sled from four feet under the snow. The other, Mike Harbak, is still missing. Local search and rescue teams went out looking Monday, Nov. 23. (Sam Fait Photo)
‘I could still be the one out there’: Snowmobiler rescued, 1 missing on northern B.C. mountain

As Quesnel search and rescue teams search for the remaining rider, Colin Jalbert is resting at home

More than 70 anglers participated in the bar-fishing demonstration fishery on Sept. 9, 2020 on the Fraser River near Chilliwack. DFO officers ticketed six people and seized four rods. A court date is set for Dec. 1, 2020. (Jennifer Feinberg/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Anglers ticketed in Fraser River demonstration fishery heading to court

Sportfishing groups started a GoFundMe with almost $20K so far for legal defence of six anglers

Pictured is the Cranbrook gravel pit, located between two graveyards near the public works yard. This is where two lost kids were located by a Salvador Ready Mix driver on Thursday, November 19, 2020. (Corey Bullock/Cranbrook Townsman file)
Two lost Cranbrook kids find their way home thanks to Salvador Ready Mix driver

The driver found the children wandering near the gravel pits in Cranbrook

Care home staff are diligent about wearing personal protective equipment when they are in contact with residents, but less so when they interact with other staff members, B.C. Seniors Advocate says. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
More COVID-19 testing needed for senior home staff, B.C.’s advocate says

Employees mingling spotted as virus conductor in many workplaces

Most Read