A third Edmontonian has been identified as one of the 157 people killed when an Ethiopian Airlines plane crashed in Africa on Sunday.
Edmonton-based PCL Construction issued a statement on Monday afternoon confirming Darcy Belanger as being one of 18 Canadians killed in the tragedy.
“The entire PCL family of companies across Canada and the United States are deeply shocked and saddened about the untimely passing of one of our own,” the company said.
Belanger was PCL’s director of U.S. professional development. He worked in Edmonton for a number of year before moving to Denver.
“Darcy was on a personal trip to the UN Environment Assembly in Nairobi, Kenya,” PCL said. “He was an advocate for MAPS (Marine Arctic Peace Sanctuary) through his work with Parvati.org.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with Darcy’s family and friends during this difficult time.”
On its website, Parvati.org describes itself as “a not-for-profit dedicated to a healthy planet.”
“Our long-term vision is the Global Peace Sanctuary, to address poverty and hunger around the world,” the website says.
On Monday, Parvati.org posted an undated YouTube video of Belanger to its website. The video appears to be one he recorded of himself while one a layover in Washington, D.C. en route to Kenya.
“I’ll check in again. We don’t know where I’ll be — maybe Ethiopia, maybe my final destination — Kenya — but I’ll keep you posted on the journey.”
According to Parvati.org, the video message was Belanger’s last before Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 crashed.
“Admired for his courage, outstanding achievements and noble qualities, Darcy was a hero in every sense of the word,” read a statement issued by parvati.org. “He was passionately devoted to the protection of all life through the realization of MAPS, the Marine Arctic Peace Sanctuary. On March 10, 2019, he literally gave it his life.”
According to parvati.org, Belanger had supported Canadian musician Parvati’s efforts to raise awareness about melting polar ice before co-founding parvati.org.
He’s “been on the front lines for MAPS ever since,” the organization said.
On his own time and with his own money, Belanger brought the “MAPS treaty,” which declares “the entire Arctic Ocean north of the Arctic Circle a protected area,” to various major summits about climate change around the world.
“He would boldly approach the highest-ranking officials to engage them on MAPS and humbly serve alongside any willing volunteer,” pavarti.org said. “His unofficial title within parvati.org was ‘quarterback’ as he helped move MAPS forward at all levels.
“Darcy was truly a champion and a force of nature, one whose passing leaves an unimaginable gap in this work as well as in the lives of his family, friends and colleagues,” the statement goes on to say. “Yet he also leaves us with a deep determination to honor his legacy of courage, compassion and focus.”
“At one point in our decade-long friendship, Darcy told me he was willing to give his life for MAPS. And so, he literally did,” said Parvati, the website’s co-founder.
“He embodied the heart of a true peaceful warrior. May we each be inspired by his example of selfless leadership, compassion in action, and willingness to serve the greater good. May we live with profound courage in his honor.”
Watch below: (From March 10, 2019) Families of Ethiopian Airlines crash victims grieve after learning their relatives’ fates.
United Nations Assistant Secretary-General Satya Tripathi said thousands of people paid silent tribute to victims of the crash at the opening of the U.N. Environment Program’s Assembly in Nairobi on Monday.
“There’s a lot of grief that’s not just for the U.N. colleagues but… because there have been losses on the side of member state delegations, the civil society community and others as well,” Tripathi said.
Other Edmontonians killed in Ethiopian Airlines crash
Family members have confirmed the deaths of two other Edmontonians in this weekend’s plane crash. Amina Odowa, a 33-year-old mother of three, was travelling with her five-year-old daughter Sofia Abdulkadir to visit family and friends in Kenya when the plane went down.
“She liked to travel back home quite often to visit family,” Odowa’s brother, Mohamed Ali, told Global News. “It’s unbelievable. You feel like you’re in a dream and then it turns out that it’s real, not a dream.”
Investigation into crash continues
According to a state-affiliated broadcaster in Ethiopia, United States ambassador has said a team of U.S. aviation experts are headed to the site of Sunday’s crash.
Fana Broadcasting Corporate reports that Ambassador Michael Raynor visited the crash site on Monday and said that “Boeing and Interpol will also assist the Ethiopian government in the investigation.”
The flight data recorder and voice cockpit recorder have been found.
Watch below: Federal Transport Minister Marc Garneau says he is confident that protocols will protect Canadians from a plane crash like the Ethiopian Airlines tragedy.
Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 crashed outside the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa on Sunday.
The passenger jet bound for the Kenyan capital Nairobi crashed minutes after take-off, killing everyone on board.
–With files from Global News’ Jennifer Ivanov, The Canadian Press and The Associated Press