Four people have been killed in a plane crash near Kelowna B.C., including former Alberta premier Jim Prentice.
Calgary optometrist Dr. Ken Gellatly was one of the other three people killed in the plane crash. Gellatly is the father-in-law of Cassia Prentice, Jim’s daughter. His colleagues at Downtown Vision Care said Prentice, Gellatly and friends went to Kelowna for the day, golfed 36 holes and were on their way home when the plane crashed.
“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.
“We are also thinking of the other families who have been affected by this tragedy and our thoughts and prayers are with them.”
Global News has learned retired businessman Sheldon Reid was another victim in the plane crash. Reid, in his early 60s, worked as an investor in North America’s capital markets. He leaves behind a son.
Prentice, 60, leaves behind his wife, Karen, and three daughters.
VIDEO GALLERY: Ongoing coverage following the death of Jim Prentice
Bill Yearwood with the Transportation Safety Board (TSB) said the Cessna Citation jet departed Kelowna International Airport Thursday night.
It disappeared off radar at 8,600 feet at 10:07 p.m.
The wreckage was found a few hours later northeast of Lake Country, north of Kelowna.
“Our police officers and police dog reached the crash scene shortly after midnight, but unfortunately they were not able to locate any survivors,” Cpl. Dan Moskaluk, spokesperson for the RCMP in Southeast District said in a release.
Watch below: Ted Chernecki reports on the plane crash in BC
Residents who live in the area said they heard what they thought was the sound of a plane flying low, followed by a loud noise.
“Several resources were immediately dispatched to the jet’s last known location,” Moskaluk said.
“RCMP investigators located the crash site approximately four kilometres into a heavily wooded area north of Beaver Lake Road, east of Lake Country.”
The flight was destined for Calgary’s Springbank airport.
Late Friday afternoon, Norjet – the registered owner of the plane that crashed – issued a release.
“Norjet lost friends in the tragic crash near Kelowna and we are struggling to cope with that loss,” the statement read in part. “We are shocked and grief-stricken.
Watch below: Lauren Pullen reports on the plane crash in BC
Prentice served as Albert’s 16th premier after winning the Progressive Conservative party leadership in September 2014.
However, his tenure was short lived after a resounding loss in the provincial election in May 2015, when the Conservatives lost to the NDP, ending 44 years of consecutive Tory governments
Prentice resigned as party leader and his seat as an MLA on the election night.
Alberta Premier Rachel Notley said she has spoken with Prentice’s wife, Karen, and expressed her sorrow and sympathy.
“There are no words adequate for moments like this, as my family knows very well,” Notley said in a statement. Notley’s father, Grant Notley, was killed in a plane crash on his way home from Edmonton on a snowy night in October 1984.
“He deeply loved Alberta. He worked tirelessly for all of us, in the true spirit of one who is committed to public service. I benefited from his advice, and the government of Alberta is continuing to pursue many of his initiatives. All Albertans are the better for this.”
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau expressed his shock and sadness over Prentice’s death and said he greatly enjoyed his interactions with him.
“Jim was a man who brought his deep convictions to everything he turned his hand to, whether it was law, business or politics,” Trudeau said Friday afternoon.
“At each step of his career, Jim was a strong voice for the people of Alberta and for the people of Canada. He was highly-respected and well-liked in the House of Commons across all party lines because he brought an intelligent, honest and straightforward approach to everything he did.”
Interim Conservative leader Rona Ambrose held back tears as she spoke with reporters on the passing of her “good friend Jim.”
“JP and I are shocked and deeply saddened to learn of the passing of our friend Jim. Our heart goes out to Karen, the girls and his two beautiful grandchildren,” Ambrose said. “All of us in the Conservative family are devastated today. It is a huge loss to the country. He was a well-respected political leader and a business leader but we know he was most proud to be a father and grandfather.
“Jim was a leader in our movement, a valued colleague in Cabinet, and a close and cherished friend of so many, not just in our party, but right across the political spectrum.”
Watch below: Interim Conservative leader Rona Ambrose remembers her ‘good friend Jim’
Following a career in politics, Prentice joined the Washington-based Canada Institute at the Wilson Center as a visiting fellow. He was also working on a book.
Last June, he took a position as an energy advisor to Warburg Pincus, a private equity firm.
“We are deeply saddened to learn that our colleague and friend Jim Prentice was involved in a fatal plane crash on Thursday evening,” the company said in a statement. “He was an invaluable member of our firm and more broadly, a widely respected leader in the energy, financial services and political communities. We send our sincerest condolences to Jim’s family during this difficult time.”
Watch below: Global’s Tom Vernon reflects on the political life and career of former Alberta Premier Jim Prentice, confirmed to have been killed in a plane crash in BC Thursday night.
B.C. Premier Christy Clark said in a statement “Like many Canadians, I was shocked to hear the news about Jim Prentice.
“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.”
“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.”
“Jim had a remarkable and distinguished career, but I think he took the most pride in being a husband, father, and grandfather. My thoughts are with Jim’s family.”
The TSB says it is sending a team to investigate. RCMP is on scene, also waiting for the BC Coroners Service.
Watch below: Former Deputy Premier of Alberta Thomas Lukaszuk speaks with Global News about the political legacy of Jim Prentice.
With files from Global’s Jayme Doll, Erika Tucker, Caley Ramsay, Andrew Russell and Phil Heidenreich.