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Former Alberta premier among dead in B.C. plane crash
Published Friday, October 14, 2016 9:52AM MDT
Last Updated Friday, October 14, 2016 7:31PM MDT
Four people have been killed after a plane crash in B.C.'s Okanagan.
Bill Yearwood of the Transportation Board says a Cessna jet had just taken off from Kelowna around 10 p.m. Thursday night when the aircraft disappeared off radar.
The plane was headed for the Springbank airport, west of Calgary.
A search found the wreckage around midnight north of Kelowna.
Yearwood says all four occupants of the aircraft were killed.
"It was during climb out from Kelowna that something went wrong obviously to cause the aircraft to descend and collide with terrain," Yearwood told CTV Morning Live in Vancouver.
Hours after the crash, CTV News confirmed former federal cabinet minister and Alberta premier Jim Prentice was killed in the crash. He was 60-years-old. Prentice's family has identified one of the other victims as Ken Gallatly. CTV News has since identified the pilot as Jim Kruk.
Kelowna and Lake Country RCMP detachments dispatched several teams to the jet's last known location after being alerted by the Surrey Air Traffic Control Centre that it had lost contact with the jet, according to Cpl. Dan Moskaluk.
CTV Okanagan Bureau Chief Kent Molgat described weather in the area Thursday night, at about the time the plane took off, as “active”, including heavy rain.
A team from the Transportation Safety Board is headed to the crash site to investigate.
Prentice started his career as a lawyer, but was always active in politics.
He was first elected as MP for Calgary North Centre in 2004, he held that seat through three elections – he served as Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Minister of the Environment.
He resigned from federal politics in 2010, but was encouraged to run for the leadership of the Alberta Progressive Conservative Party in 2014 after former premier Alison Redford resigned.
Prentice served as premier until the PC government was defeated by the NDP in the spring of 2015 – he was reelected in his seat, but decided to step down as MLA and leader of the party.
Prentice family releases statement
Early Friday afternoon, the Alberta government released a statement from Prentice’s family:
“Words cannot begin to express our profound shock and heartbreak at the news that our beloved husband, father and grandfather, Jim, has died in this tragic event.
“In addition, another member of our family was also on the plane, Ken Gellatly, the father-in-law of one of our daughters, also a very special man.
“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 in the coming weeks.
“We are also thinking of the other families who have been affected by this tragedy and our thoughts and prayers are with them.
“In the time Jim has been with us, he was a friend to many. Jim was a loving and compassionate man who dedicated his life to his family and public service. He will be so greatly missed.
“We are certainly appreciative of your condolences and prayers at this terrible time.”
Dr. Ken Gallatly is shown in an undated photo. Supplied.
RCMP vehicles guards access to the site of a plane crash that killed four people near Kelowna, B.C. (Kent Molgat)