Saskatoon

Well-known Sask. mining contractor Leonard Banga dies in B.C. plane crash

A well-known Saskatchewan mining contractor has died in a plane crash near Anahim Lake, B.C., 560 kilometres southwest of Prince George.

Banga was flying to cabin in west-central B.C., not known what caused crash

Mining contractor Leonard Banga was killed in a plane crash in B.C. this weekend. (CBC)

A well-known Saskatchewan mining contractor has died in a plane crash near Anahim Lake, B.C., 560 kilometres southwest of Prince George.

Leonard Banga was piloting his de Havilland DHC-2 Beaver float plane when it crashed 80 kilometres north of the lake Monday morning. Four passengers were airlifted out of the area to hospital.

"It was a huge shock," said friend Ron Olson. "He was a very dynamic individual."

The rescue effort was a joint operation between the Canadian Forces 442 Transport and Rescue Squadron out of Comox and the provincial air ambulance service.

After receiving the call that the plane had gone down, three Search and Rescue techs parachuted into the area. An air ambulance followed soon afterwards.

Banga was declared dead at the scene. The four survivors of the crash were flown out of the area. Two of them were in serious condition.

An aerial view of the plane crash site, 80 kilometres north of Anahim Lake. (442 Transport and Rescue Squadron)

It's still not known what caused the crash. The Transportation Safety Board is sending three investigators to the scene.

Local airpark

Banga had recently bought a rural airpark just outside of Saskatoon, and was well-known in the local flying community.

"He was very active in rebuilding (the airpark)," said Olson. "He was working on improving the runways and he was also building a line of hangars there."

Survivors of the plane crash being loaded onto an ambulance. ( 442 Transport and Rescue Squadron)

A business owned by Banga, Xtreme Mining and Demolition, works in mines across the country. Banga received media attention after a former member of the Hells Angels was found guilty of uttering threats against him.

The survivors in the plane worked for Banga's company. Two of the survivors were seriously injured.

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