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Saskatchewan athlete identified as 1 of 3 killed in plane crash near Medicine Hat, Alta.

Three people are dead after a plane crash near Medicine Hat, Alta. The plane was located early Sunday morning by military personnel brought in to aid with the search.

Fathers of a bride and groom returning from a stag party both killed near Irvine, Alta.

Justin Filteau, 26, was one of three people who died after their small plane crashed near Medicine Hat, Alta., Saturday evening. (Justin Filteau/Facebook)

A Saskatchewan athlete has been identified as one of three people killed in a plane crash near Medicine Hat, Alta.

Nancy Jewitt-Filteau says her son Justin Filteau, 26, was on his way home from a stag party. He was travelling with the father of the groom, who was the pilot, and the father of the bride. 

"He loved life, he lived life to the fullest and the fastest," she said of her son. "He was never afraid to try anything."

RCMP say at 10:15 p.m. Saturday a small plane took off from Medicine Hat airport with three people on board, headed for Moose Jaw, Sask. 

The flight was expected to take an hour and a half. When it failed to arrive, family of the passengers notified authorities.

The plane was located early Sunday morning by military personnel brought in to aid with the search.

It crashed near the hamlet of Irvine, Alta., in Cypress County, about 35 kilometres east of Medicine Hat.

The plane was found near Irvine, Alta. It crashed on its way from Medicine Hat, Alta., to Moose Jaw, Sask. (CBC)

There were no survivors. 

Jewitt-Filteau said her son overcame bullying as a small kid to become a leader as an athlete, winning Canadian Junior Football League championships with the Saskatoon Hilltops and playing with the University of Saskatchewan Huskies.

He also played and coached judo, just like his mom — who competed for Canada in the Olympics in the sport.

Filteau was a community leader, his mom said, participating in the Be More Than A Bystander program where athletes use their platform to encourage youth to speak up about violence against women. 

"He never figured there was anything he couldn't do, I was so proud of him," she said. "He set goals, set the bar high and worked hard to achieve them."

One of the teams Filteau coached, the Saskatoon Valkyries, held a moment of silence for him before the team's game on Sunday.

The Saskatoon Valkyries held a moment of silence for Justin Filteau on Sunday. (Emmanuelle Poisson/Radio-Canada)

"Today, like many people across Saskatchewan's football community and beyond, our organization is devastated to have learned we have lost Justin," said Jeff Yausie, the executive director of Football Saskatchewan, in an emailed statement. 

"Our hearts are with Justin's family and friends as they come to terms with their great loss. We pray they can find comfort in their memories."

A spokesperson for the Transportation Safety Board said the plane, an American Aviation AA-5B, hit the ground roughly 20 minutes into the flight. 

RCMP said the reason for the crash is not yet known, and that police will be assisting the Transportation Safety Board, which has taken over the investigation.

The TSB said investigators were expected to arrive at the scene sometime Sunday afternoon, and that more details would be made available on Monday.

Corrections

  • An earlier version of this story indicated that Justin Filteau was travelling home from a stag party with a friend and his friend's father. In fact, he was travelling from the stag party with the father of the bride and father of the groom.
    Jun 03, 2019 10:33 AM MT

With files from CBC Saskatchewan

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