Harold Long poses beside a wheeled Beaver. He passed away Tuesday when his aircraft crashed in Bute Inlet.

Former MLA Harold Long dies in plane crash north of Campbell River

Long was the pilot and sole occupant of a DHC-2 Beaver float plane that was spotted overturned in Bute Inlet

A former B.C. MLA has died in a plane crash in Bute Inlet north of Campbell River.

The BC Coroners Service confirmed Harold Long as the man who died in the float plane crash near Stuart Island, in the mouth of Bute Inlet on Tuesday.

Long, 72, from Powell River, served as MLA for the Mackenzie riding (as it was then named) from 1986 to 1991 and again as Liberal MLA for the riding of Powell River-Sunshine Coast from 2001 to 2005.

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, about 40 km north of Campbell River, late Tuesday afternoon. Search-and-rescue technicians, the Canadian Coast Guard and RCMP attended the scene, confirmed Long’s death and completed the recovery later in the day.

The Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre in Victoria said there had been no reports of a crash. The plane had been discovered by a passerby.

The BC Coroners Service, Transportation Safety Board and RCMP continue to investigate this death. Long’s family has been notified of his death.

Premier Christy Clark issued the following statement on the passing of former Powell River-Sunshine Coast MLA Harold Long:

“It was great sadness that I learned of the death of Harold Long.  Harold served as an MLA on two separate occasions, and set an example by always working to make his community and province a better place.

“I served with Harold in the Legislature from 2001 to 2005 and will never forget his wise counsel and belief in giving back to British Columbia in ways big and small.

“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.

“Harold’s family can be immensely proud of all his contributions and his generous nature, both of which touched so many. My thoughts and prayers are with them.”