05/22/2013 02:16 EDT

Harold Long Dead: Bute Inlet Plane Crash Kills Former MLA

B.C. Government

A former B.C. Liberal and Social Credit MLA who served two terms in the B.C. legislature has been named the victim of a deadly float plane crash near Bute Inlet.

Harold Long, 72, was flying alone in a DHC-2 Beaver float plane when it crashed on the west side of Stuart Island in Bute Inlet, the B.C. Coroners Service said in a news release, Wednesday.

The plane was spotted overturned near Stuart Island at around 5:20 p.m. on Tuesday, a spokesman for Maritime Forces Pacific told The Huffington Post B.C.

Long was first elected on the Social Credit ticket to the Prince George-Mackenzie riding in 1986, and served there until the NDP all but wiped out the Socreds in the 1991 election.

He came back to the legislature in 2001, winning the riding of Powell River-Sunshine Coast for the B.C. Liberals.

Premier Christy Clark said in a Wednesday statement that Long "set an example by always working to make his community and province a better place.

"He embraced life with a great spirit. There were never any strangers when Harold was around. He treated everyone exactly the same - like a friend."

BC Coroners Service statement on Harold Long's death:

VICTORIA - The BC Coroners Service has confirmed the identity of a man who died in a float plane crash near Stuart Island on May 21, 2013.

He was Harold James Long, aged 72, from Powell River.

Mr. Long served as MLA for the Mackenzie riding (as it was then named) from 1986 to 1991 and again as MLA for the riding of Powell River-Sunshine Coast from 2001 to 2005.

Mr. Long was the pilot and sole occupant of a DHC-2 Beaver float plane that was spotted overturned in Bute Inlet on the west side of Stuart Island in the late afternoon of May 21, 2013. Search-and-rescue technicians, the Canadian Coast Guard and RCMP attended the scene, confirmed Mr. Long's death and completed the recovery later in the day.

The BC Coroners Service, Transportation Safety Board and RCMP continue to investigate this death.

The family of Mr. Long has been notified of his death. On behalf of family members, the BC Coroners Service asks that the media respect their privacy at this difficult time.

The BC Coroners Service expresses its condolences to family and friends of Mr. Long, and its thanks to the Victoria Rescue Co-ordination Centre, Canadian Coast Guard and RCMP for their assistance with this case.

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