John Driftmier, a Calgary-born filmmaker with a penchant for extreme environments, tales and work, died in a plane crash in Kenya on Sunday, the CBC reports.
Driftmier was only 30 but had already racked up an impressive resume filming all over the globe, including the Arctic, the Amazon and Africa, for shows such as History Television's Ice Pilots NWT, and Discovery Channel's Monster Moves, License To Drill and Highway Thru Hell, according to his personal website.
The filmmaker was on location shooting Discovery Canada's Dangerous Flights, when the small plane he was flying in crashed, killing Driftmier and his pilot, the CBC reported.
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"The thing that's the hardest for me is: I didn't see him as a son-in-law. I saw him as a son and a very valuable member of the family," Les Allen, Driftmier's father-in-law, told CBC News Monday.
"He's touched people all over the world," Allen added. "That's the tragedy of it all."
The kind of work in which Driftmier excelled was high-octane and he had the attitude to match, Michael Francis, a Calgarian who worked with Driftmier filming Ice Pilots NWT in Yellowknife for two seasons, told the Calgary Herald.
“I always said he was going to be the most successful person I knew because he had that personality that wouldn’t quit,” Francis told the Herald.
“He had this great affection for life. He refused to say ‘no.’ He was always pushing forward and he always had grandiose plans.”
Dangerous Flights follows the lives of ferry pilots, who deliver second-hand planes around the world.
The description of the series had his family on edge but what is hard to take is the fact the latest plane had been delivered safely but Driftmier wanted to get some extra shots and hired a second plane to get back in the air, Allen told the Calgary Sun.
“He'd done a number of these dangerous flights and we thought he was done with them, but this one came up — he saw this flight to Kenya, and said yes. That was John — he liked the adventure,” the father-in-law told the Sun.
Driftmier decided to get some footage of a local safari park before returning to Canada, and it was respected Kenyan conservationist Dr. Anthony King at the helm of the Aeroprakt A22 Foxbat when something went wrong, killing both men, the Sun reported.
Social media was quick to react to news of the filmmaker's death, who graduated from Western Canada High School, before attending film school at Simon Fraser University.
It's obvious from his own observations that Driftmier was fueled by a sense of adventure, loved the feeling of exploration and was always ready for the next challenge.
"From the depths of Amazon Jungle to the barren Canadian arctic, my work has taken me around the world. In the last year alone I have filmed in over 30 countries on Dangerous Flights," his website states.
"While I love shooting in warm tropical climates, I keep finding myself going North in the winter.. Why do I keep going north in the winter? That is a question I ask myself every time my lens fogs up and eye gets frozen to the viewfinder. The answer is simple; I crave adventure on my shoots, and love traveling."
He also explained he is a citizen of Canada, the United States and Hungary and held a passport for each, which he stated made it easy for him to undertake international travel.
"I am able to travel on one of my passports while another one is sent away for a visa."
Driftmier leaves behind a wife in Ottawa and parents in Calgary.