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Mother of construction worker who died in Kelowna, B.C. crane collapse to speak

FILE. Workers at the Site C dam in northern B.C. held a touching tribute in solidarity with the victims of Kelowna's crane collapse tragedy. Courtesy: Troy Van Bostelen/Submitted

The mother of one of the four construction workers killed in a 2021 crane accident in Kelowna, B.C., will speak Thursday at an event honouring lives lost during workplace injuries.

Danielle Pritchett, the mother of Cailen Vilness, will be speaking about occupational safety, especially for young people, at the annual National Day of Mourning, which is being held in Kelowna’s Ben Lee Park.

Read more: Family of young man killed in Kelowna crane collapse says he had a bright future

Vilness was one of the four young construction workers killed on July 12, 2021,  when the top portion of a crane — attached to a high-rise building — collapsed while it was being dismantled, slamming into an adjacent building. Another man was killed in a nearby building.

The Kitimat, B.C., native moved to Kelowna to pursue career opportunities in the construction sector, a family trade.

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Click to play video: 'Remembering one of the victims of the Kelowna crane collapse' Remembering one of the victims of the Kelowna crane collapse
Remembering one of the victims of the Kelowna crane collapse – Jul 20, 2021

Every year, on April 28, workers, families, employers, and many others get together to observe the National Day of Mourning and the ceremony will run from noon to 1 p.m.

Read more: Construction union calls for mandatory training in wake of Kelowna crane tragedy

In addition to Pritchett, there will be speakers from WorkSafe BC, the City of Kelowna and the North Okanagan Labour Council, as well as anyone else who wishes to speak in honour of a loved one who was injured or died on the job.

“Over the past two years, we have lost friends, colleagues and family members to the pandemic, many of whom got sick at work. Others are still dealing with the effects of long-COVID,” the press release reads.

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“While we look forward to gathering together in their honour, we ask everyone in attendance to respect local health guidelines and gather safely.”

Click to play video: 'Construction cranes sound horns in tribute to the 5 killed in Kelowna accident' Construction cranes sound horns in tribute to the 5 killed in Kelowna accident
Construction cranes sound horns in tribute to the 5 killed in Kelowna accident – Jul 16, 2021

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