VANCOUVER - A man identified on a mountaineering club website as one of two people killed in a float plane crash on the west coast of Vancouver Island last week is being described as an accomplished hiker who will be sorely missed.
Two people were killed, two others were wounded, and another two aboard the Air Nootka plane walked away without injuries last Friday when the aircraft crashed about 85 kilometres north of Tofino.
The B.C. Coroners Service has not officially identified the deceased, but a survivor recovering in Victoria General Hospital has said in media reports Charles Turner and the pilot were killed.
Members of the Comox District Mountaineering Club said on their website's online forum Turner was a former member and an avid climber who had scaled some of the world's most significant peaks.
Parksville resident Christine Rivers declined comment when reached by telephone on Tuesday, but confirmed she posted on the forum fond memories of hiking with Turner.
"We are so upset about losing Charles," she wrote.
"He was a wonderful person, strong hiker and mountaineer, gentle, soft spoken, strong. He helped me a lot when I was a beginning hiker. He lent me his crampons to use for my first time up the south peak of Colonel Foster. . . .Charles will be missed a lot. We are so sad."
"Ken R" also posted: "I am shocked and sadden by this news. I was on some of the hikes that Charles led over the years. . . Charles was a gentle person, he will be missed."
The Air Nootka plane, carrying five passengers and a pilot, was heading towards Gold River on Friday morning when it went down, just minutes after take off, into a forested area.
The Transportation Safety Board said Monday it appears a fire broke out after the plane crashed. While the causes of the two deaths have yet to be determined, the board said Friday's accident appears to confirm its fears that more lives will be lost if Transport Canada does not take action to prevent post-crash fires.
The TSB said it continues to investigate, and a report on the crash likely won't be available until months later.
The Comox District Mountaineering Club's website says a private memorial to celebrate Turner's life will be held in Comox on Saturday.