Former Alberta Premier Jim Prentice and 3 Others Die in Plane Crash

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Former Alberta Premier and long-time-federal minister Jim Prentice and three others died in the crash of a small plane in southern British Columbia.

A senior government official confirmed Prentice died in the crash late Thursday. The official spoke on condition of anonymity so as not to go on the record before the family could issue a statement. He was 60.

Prentice was among former Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s most trusted cabinet ministers. He served as the industry minister, environment minister and minister of Indian and northern affairs. He left federal politics for provincial politics and became premier of Alberta in 2014. His party was defeated a year later in elections.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is expected to speak later Friday. Current Alberta Premier Rachel Notley, who lost her father in a plane crash, cancelled an afternoon event and is also expected to address media later Friday.

Former Foreign Minister John Baird said he was devastated to learn of the death of his friend and former colleague.

Former cabinet minister James Moore called Prentice a proud Albertan and great Canadian. Federal lawmaker Michael Chong said Prentice devoted his life to Canada. Prentice, a moderate conservative who voted for same sex marriage before many of his Conservative colleagues, was widely respected.

A team of investigators from the board was on its way to the scene of the crash near Kelowna, British Columbia.

Board spokesman Bill Yearwood said a Cessna Citation aircraft with four people on board went down at about 10:30 p.m. Thursday after taking off from Kelowna on a flight to Springbank, outside Calgary.

Yearwood did not have information about the names or hometowns of those aboard the small jet, or what might have caused the crash.

Royal Canadian Mounted Police Cpl. Dan Moskaluk said police were alerted when the private business-style jet lost radar contact and officers are secured the scene.

Prentice is survived by his wife and three daughters.

SOURCE: The Associated Press