SUNDRE, Alta. — One of the men who died in a plane crash in central Alberta always loved flying and had just bought his own plane.
Family members have identified James Dubarry of Edmonton as one of the victims of Friday’s crash of a single-engine Cirrus SR-22 near Sundre.
Relatives say Dubarry was a loving father to his nine-year-old son and a caring husband.
An email sent to employees of SMS Equipment identified another of the victims as Steve Brosseau of Spruce Grove, Alta., who had worked with the supply company since 1994, most recently as a general manager.
The small plane was owned by 51-year-old Charles Matson, a former part-owner of the Western Hockey League Calgary Hitmen.
It’s believed Brosseau was going to purchase the aircraft from Matson and the three men were on a test run.
Dubarry and Brosseau apparently shared a love of airplanes.
“His passion since 17 was flying,” said Dubarry’s brother-in-law Nemar Fayad. “You could see it in his face, what he loved, and that was flying.
“Last weekend, we had a family get-together and he announced that he had bought a plane and you could just see the happiness, you could see how happy he was to have his plane.”
It’s unclear whether Dubarry had purchased another plane or whether he and Brosseau were buying the doomed aircraft together.
Investigators have yet to determine who was in the pilot’s seat.
Theo Fleury was a close friend of Matson. He issued a statement to CTV in which he described him as “a tremendous family man” who had “deep faith.” Fleury said he felt like he’d lost a brother.
The Canada Transportation Safety Board is investigating the cause of the crash, which happened about 30 minutes after the Cirrus took off. A witness said the plane spiralled into a farmer’s field and broke into several pieces.
Officials have ruled out weather as a factor, but will be looking into what role mechanical failure or human error may have played. An electronic flight information system has been recovered from the site and may provide clues.
Investigators say they also need to determine why a safety parachute wasn’t deployed.