Four people are dead after a Cessna Citation crashed after departing Kelowna last night.
Global BC confirms one of the victims is former Alberta Premier and federal cabinet minister Jim Prentice.
Prentice served as Alberta’s 16th premier with the Alberta PC party from 2014 to 2015, and retired to private life after a surprise defeat to the NDP.
He was elected to the house of commons in 20o4 as a Conservative, and served in Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s cabinet as Minister of Industry, Environment, and Indian Affairs and Northern Development, before leaving federal politics in 2010.
Condolences pour in
From coast to coast, people are flooding Facebook and Twitter, sharing their shock and heartbreak.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau expressed his condolences on behalf of the country, and lauded Prentice for his service despite their political differences.
“We didn’t always share the same views, but he was always incredibly kind and respectful to me. And I will miss him profoundly. Jim’s legacy will live on in the work he did for Canadians, particularly in the important role he played in finalizing the Indian residential school settlement.”
Holding back tears, interim Conservative leader Rona Ambrose described Prentice as a political leader, a business leader, a proud father, and a friend.
“When you’re in politics, you’re in a family. And our family, the conservative family, mourns the loss of our good friend Jim Prentice, but so do so many others across the country that came to know him as a friend.”
B.C. Premier Christy Clark also offered her condolences, saying Prentice had given everything to his country.
“It really is a terrible loss for Canada. Jim Prentice devoted his life to public service, and to making Canada better. And it is hard work doing that. I don’t know if in politics I met many people who were people of such good character. Jim Prentice was that guy who you could make an agreement with for any amount of money on a handshake and he would keep it.”
Many other key conservative leaders took to social media to share their loss.
My heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of Jim Prentice - great loss of a good man— Brad Trost (@BradTrostCPC) October 14, 2016
It’s terrible to hear about the loss of Jim Prentice. I express my sincerest sympathy to his family.— Maxime Bernier (@MaximeBernier) October 14, 2016
Proud Albertan, great Canadian, terrible tragedy. A gent, a friend, a leader is gone. Thinking of Karen and family on this awful day. pic.twitter.com/cXZTyR0Hh3— James Moore (@JamesMoore_org) October 14, 2016
Devastated by the tragic loss of Jim Prentice. Friend, devoted husband & father, fiercely proud Canadian & Albertan. A great man. RIP. pic.twitter.com/YwOnkh7Ph0— Jason Kenney (@jkenney) October 14, 2016
The Aboriginal community also reactedalso released a statement mourning the loss, and thanking Prentice for his years of work
The Transportation Safety Board says says the craft, operated out of Alberta, was departing Kelowna with four aboard and bound for Springbank, just outside of Calgary.
The RCMP says it was contacted when the Surrey Air Traffic Control lost contact with the jet just after 10 pm, shortly after takeoff.
It says investigators found the wreckage about 4km into a heavily wooded area east of Lake Country, describing “catastrophic damage at the crash site.”
“Our information reported from the accident site was that the aircraft appeared to have hit the ground at high speed and break up,” says TSB spokesperson Bill Yearwood.
Environment Canada lists conditions at the Kelowna Airport at the time as raining lightly with 13 km/h winds and visibility to 13 km.
The Transportation Safety Board has dispatched a team to investigate.
Transport Canada responds to crash
Minister of Transport Marc Garneau issued a statement Friday night about the fatal crash.
“I extend my heartfelt thoughts and support to all the victims of this accident. I had the honour of serving with the Honourable Jim Prentice in the House of Commons for over two years and I had the utmost respect for him and his service to Canadians. He will be greatly missed.”
Garneau says they will be cooperating with the investigation.
“Safety is the Government’s top priority. We are cooperating fully with the Transportation Safety Board of Canada in its investigation to determine the root causes of this accident. I have also appointed a Minister’s Observer, a departmental official who will keep us informed on the progress of the TSB investigation,” read the statement.
He says the Observer will advise the department and identify deficiencies.