The Transportation Safety Board will release a report today on the plane crash that killed former Alberta premier Jim Prentice. (Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Safety board to release report on plane crash that killed Jim Prentice

CALGARY — The Transportation Safety Board is to release a report today on the plane crash that killed former Alberta premier Jim Prentice and three other men.

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.

No distress signal was sent before the aircraft vanished from radar.

Also aboard were optometrist Ken Gellatly, the father-in-law of one of Prentice’s three daughters, and Calgary businessman Sheldon Reid.

Jim Kruk, a retired RCMP officer and aviation enthusiast, was flying the plane.

The small aircraft was not required to have voice and data recorders, which the Transportation Safety Board warned would make its investigation particularly challenging.

Days after the crash, board chairwoman Kathy Fox made a renewed call for the devices to be required on small planes.

“This latest accident is another reminder of how important these recorders are,” she said in a statement at the time. “If we are to get to the underlying causes of these tragic accidents, Transport Canada and the aviation industry need to take immediate action to address this outstanding safety issue.”

Greg McConnell, national chairman of the Canadian Federal Pilots Association, said one change he would like to see is regular Transport Canada inspections for small aircraft such as the business jet Prentice died in.

He said it’s possible the TSB may not be able to pinpoint a single cause for why the plane went down.

“Often with accidents it’s never one thing, but it’s a culmination of a bunch of little things,” McConnell said.

“We won’t know until we see the report, I guess.”

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