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Second victim of Peachland plane crash named

Couple originally from White Rock and South Surrey were killed in crash of Delta-bound plane.
Friends said Dallas Smith and Lauren Sewell were a good match. On Thursday

A second fatality in this week's plane crash near Kelowna has been identified as 24-year-old Lauren Patricia Sewell, a Vancouver resident originally from South Surrey.

B.C.'s chief coroner announced Thursday morning that Sewell died in hospital the day after a four-seat Piper Twin Commanche crashed 30 kilometres west of Kelowna Monday afternoon.

She was the girlfriend of 30-year-old Jayson Dallas Wesley Smith, who was pronounced dead at the scene. Smith was a Vancouver resident who grew up in the White Rock area.

Two survivors of the crash reportedly remain in hospitals in Kamloops and Vancouver in critical condition. Their identities have not yet been released.

According to an employee of the company listed as a registered owner of the airplane, Maplewood Landscaping in Delta, one survivor is a family member of one of the business owners.

In her Thursday statement, chief coroner Lisa Lapointe said that with the consent of her family, Sewell became an organ donor.

"The BC Coroners Service commends the family for the generosity of their decision in a time of immense grief," Lapointe said.

Friends of Smith and Sewell said the two became a couple after Smith returned from a nearly year-long trip around the world in 2011.

Alexis Bennett, a long-time friend of Smith, described Sewell a "super-nice girl."

"She was a good fit for Dallas because she was so calm and centered."

When Smith turned 30 on June 30, Sewell bought him flying lessons as a birthday present.

It isn't clear whether the flight they were on was part of the gift.

Sewell attended Elgin Park Secondary school in South Surrey, while Smith went to Semiahmoo Secondary.

Even though each moved to Vancouver after finishing high school, they made regular trips back to the Peninsula to visit, friends said.

On Tuesday, friends held an informal memorial get-together for Smith, remembered as an avid outdoorsman and traveller who possessed great personal charm.

As well, friends and family of Dallas Smith have established a memorial fund in his memory. Donations can be made to the account "Pamela Smith in trust" at any branch of the Coast Capital Savings Credit Union.

Meanwhile, the Transportation Safety Board is investigating the cause of the crash, and has appealed for witnesses.

The wreckage has been removed from the site and the next phase is a detailed examination of the evidence, said TSB investigator Bill Yearwood, noting all parts of the plane have been accounted for.

That's not always the case with crashes of this kind, Yearwood said. The plane had a full gas tank and the impact could easily have sparked an evidence-destroying fire, as was the case with a floatplane crash in the same area four months ago.

In Monday's crash, the plane was found in a treed area not far from a large clearing on the Brenda Mines site, a few kilometres beyond the Brenda Mines turnoff.

The Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre in Victoria was first notified that the flight had gone down around 3 p.m. when an emergency beacon was triggered by the impact. The pilot had not placed a distress call.

A Buffalo search and rescue plane located the crash site by 5 p.m. Rescuers parachuted into the scene to find the plane in pieces and only one person still conscious.

Yearwood said there is little information so far to determine what the pilot was attempting to do.

"We're hoping to find people who may have seen the flight go down," said Yearwood. "We only have one person who thinks they may have seen the flight in its last moments."

Anyone with information is encouraged to call the TSB at 604-666-5826.

- with files from Kathy Michaels & Adrian MacNair




Dan Ferguson

About the Author: Dan Ferguson

Best recognized for my resemblance to St. Nick, I’m the guy you’ll often see out at community events and happenings around town.
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