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‘Family dinners won’t be the same’: Brothers in fatal Kananaskis crash identified

Click to play video: 'Brothers identified as victims of Kananaskis plane crash'
Brothers identified as victims of Kananaskis plane crash
WATCH: The family of two Calgary brothers, who died in a tragic plane crash, are sharing their sons’ stories. – Aug 8, 2023

A pair of brothers are the latest victims to be publicly-identified from the fatal plane crash in Kananaskis Country late last month.

On Tuesday, the Ryan family told Global News two of their sons, Braydon and Benjamin, were aboard the Piper PA32 aircraft that went down about 30 minutes after taking off from Springbank Airport en route to Salmon Arm, B.C.

The family said Braydon, 26, and Benjamin, 24, grew up with two sisters in northwest Calgary. The elder brother was described as more quiet and introverted, with the younger seen as more adventurous and extroverted.

“From an early age, Braydon challenged us with deep questions but always accepted an honest answer. He didn’t give his heart easily, but when he did, he gave it wholly,” the family said in a statement.

Braydon attended the University of Calgary for mechanical engineering and worked on “next-generation amusement park ride systems” in a Vancouver internship before working with an engineering company in Calgary. He’d recently gotten engaged to his fiancée Aya, with a Thanksgiving wedding date planned.

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Click to play video: '5 passengers of deadly Alberta plane crash members of Calgary church'
5 passengers of deadly Alberta plane crash members of Calgary church

The Ryan family said Braydon was willing to try new things and had a “heart for service with a work ethic that was second to none.”

“Whether in his schooling, engineering work, volunteering or just helping friends and family, he quietly and unreservedly gave of himself entirely. We witnessed this repeatedly, and his love for youth and children, in particular, was evidenced in mentoring kids at Harvest Hills Alliance, sticking with them from junior high to graduation,” the family said.

A love for animals and nature that started at a young age led Benjamin to study conservation biology at the University of Alberta, a program he graduated from in June.

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When he wasn’t painting animals and landscapes, or starting up an outdoor clothing company, the younger brother spent time outdoors rock climbing, playing rugby, fishing and bow-hunting.

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Like his brother, Benjamin volunteered in Central America and was a youth mentor at RockPointe Church.

Click to play video: 'Alberta plane crash: All 6 aboard dead near Kananaskis Village'
Alberta plane crash: All 6 aboard dead near Kananaskis Village

“When his friends or family were struggling, he would bear the weight of their burdens and do everything in his power to help ease their worries. His empathetic heart sought out those who were on the outside and showed them that they were valuable and loved,” the Ryan family said of Benjamin.

The family said they were “heartbroken” to lose the two brothers.

“The memories we do have, however, make us so proud to be their parents,” the Ryan family said.

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The family thanked the community for the “outpourings of love and support.”

Braydon and Benjamin, along with Jacob Brown, (Willard) Kirk Mealey, Adam Laser and Luke MacKelvie were passengers aboard the flight that took off from Springbank at around 9 p.m. on July 28, bound for a church function in B.C.’s southern Interior.

Click to play video: 'Plane crash near Kananaskis Country in Alberta'
Plane crash near Kananaskis Country in Alberta

When the plane was reported as not arriving at its destination, the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre in Trenton, Ont., tasked a Winnipeg-based Royal Canadian Air Force CC-130 Hercules from the 435 Transport and Rescue Squadron with leading a search.

Emergency locator transmitters led rescue teams to the aircraft, which had gone down just north of Kananaskis Village, roughly 75 kilometres west of Calgary.

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The Transportation Safety Board has also launched an investigation.

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