A Saskatoon business owner has died in a plane crash in British Columbia.
Leonard Banga died Monday at the controls of his small float plane following a crash near a hunting and fishing lodge he owned in west-central B.C., according to friend Rob Olson.
“They were getting close to the camp, I understand about 10 miles away from the runway, and then something obviously went very badly wrong,” Olson said.
RCMP reported that four passengers in Banga’s plane survived the impact and were found by search-and-rescue workers who parachuted into the crash site.
Banga tried to fire members of the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club from his Xtreme Mining and Demolition company back in 2014. At that time, a former Hells Angel was convicted of uttering threats against him.
More recently, Banga and his wife purchased the Corman Air Park airstrip this spring, with plans to spend about $3 million fixing up the facility.
Olson said he knew Banga for years, bonding over their shared love of flying. Although Banga had only recently attained his pilots’ license, Olson said he doubted a lack of experience would have caused the crash.
“He worked at (flying) very hard and took that very seriously. He was very well trained and took all the proper training…I would consider him a very competent and able pilot,” Olson said.
Olson said he hopes his friend is remembered well.
“He was just a very dynamic individual and a great doer and just an all-around great guy,” he said.
Banga was 42 years old.