Pilot likely disoriented in plane crash that killed former Premier Jim Prentice

By The Canadian Press
April 26, 2018 - 10:28am

CALGARY -- The Transportation Safety Board (TSB) says the pilot of a plane that crashed, killing former Alberta premier Jim Prentice, was probably disoriented.

The Cessna Citation jet went down shortly after takeoff from Kelowna, B.C., on its way to the Springbank airport west of Calgary in October 2016.

The TSB says there were no flight recording systems on board he aircraft, so it could not definitively determine the cause of the crash.

But the safety board says the ``most plausible scenario'' is that pilot Jim Kruk became spatially disoriented due to a heavy workload at the controls.

Kruk, a retired RCMP officer, optometrist Ken Gellatly, the father-in-law of one of Prentice's three daughters and Calgary businessman Sheldon Reid all died with Prentice.

Prentice, 60, served as a federal aboriginal affairs minister, environment minister and industry minister before he quit federal politics in 2010 to take on a post as a senior executive with CIBC.

Four years later, he won the leadership race for the Alberta Progressive Conservatives and became premier. He quit politics in May 2015 after the Alberta NDP swept the Progressive Conservatives from power.

Immediately after the release of the TSB crash report, the Prentice family released the following statement:

"We would like to thank the Transportation Safety Board for their work on the report that was released today. 

While this report cannot restore what has been lost, it is our hope the learnings from this tragic event can be used to prevent similar accidents in the future.

We are proud of Jim's contributions to Alberta, to Canada and to public service, but he was first and foremost a loving husband, father, grandfather and sibling; we will always miss him.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the other families impacted by this tragedy.

Thank-you for the support that we have received from Albertans and people across Canada.  We thank-you for respecting our privacy."

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