The fourth person who died in the Canada Day weekend glider and plane mid-air collision near Pemberton has been identified as a 21-year-old man from India.
The Indian news network TNN has confirmed Mohnish Paul as the fourth victim in Saturday’s accident, in which a Cessna 150 plane and a glider crashed into each other over the Nairn Falls campground. Two people and a dog from 100 Mile House were in the Cessna.
Debris from the two planes fell down on the 90 campers staying in the area for the long weekend, but no one was injured on the ground.
Nagpur businessman Gagan Paul and his family were in Pemberton when Mohnish died in the mid-air accident on Saturday. He was in B.C. with his parents and younger sister, the network reported.
Mohnish was flying in a glider along with instructor Rudy Rozsypalek when it was in collision with the Cessna.
Rozsypalek, 49, who owns the Pemberton Soaring Centre, is a longtime Pemberton resident and hockey coach in Whistler. He had been a driving force behind the Pemberton Regional Airport and his glider business was located at the airport.
The other family members were scheduled to go up in the glider after Mohnish.
B.C. Coroner Barb McLintock confirmed the fourth victim was from India. She said they are awaiting official confirmation before making the name public. “Yes, he was a tourist, but we are not naming him yet,” she said.
And while the bodies of all four victims have been located, Mohnish’s body has not been turned over to the family for the funeral.
The rest of the family too was to take the 35-minute ride in the glider once Mohnish returned, said a relative.
Bhishma Uberoi, Mohnish’s maternal uncle, said on TNN the family began to worry when he was late returning from the flight.
“When the glider did not return for nearly an hour they got worried. They were later informed of the accident,” Uberoi said.
“This was the family’s first trip to Canada,” Sonu Paul, Mohnish’s uncle, told TNN.
“Canadian authorities are very thorough and will not give us the body until all investigations are complete,” Paul said and added that his brother was in touch with the Indian Consulate, too.
Transportation Safety Board spokesman Bill Yearwood said the investigation into the crash will take months.
He also said a similar accident has never been recorded in that part of B.C.
The couple from 100 Mile House have been identified as Terrence “Terry” Gale and his wife Rita.
Gale, who retired from the military a few years ago, was on a sightseeing tour into the Whistler-Pemberton area and was scheduled to be back home later that day.