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39-Yr-Old Richmond Woman And Her American Husband Among Six Killed In Alaska Crash

Darpan News Desk The Canadian Press, 15 May, 2019
  • 39-Yr-Old Richmond Woman And Her American Husband Among Six Killed In Alaska Crash

VANCOUVER — Friends and colleagues are mourning a Metro Vancouver couple who were active in the region's booming technology industry before their lives were cut short in a float plane crash in Alaska.


Thirty-seven-year-old Elsa Wilk from Richmond, B.C., and Ryan Wilk, 39, originally from Salt Lake City, Utah, were among six people killed when two sightseeing planes collided on Monday.


Derek Bolen confirmed the two were married and recalled working with Elsa Wilk at Clio, a legal software company in Vancouver.


"When we worked together she was a highly driven, incredibly intelligent and supportive person who you could always rely on for personal or professional advice and I considered her a close friend," he said in a direct message on Twitter.


She was a competitive in taekwondo at the national level and brought the same sense of "healthy competition" to everything she did, he added. He recalled how the marketing team at Clio made red "Elsa Army" T-shirts for staff to support her when she was competing.


Her LinkedIn page said she had worked in marketing for several technology companies and helped launch the video game CryptoKitties.


Ryan Wilk's LinkedIn account described him as vice-president of product and market innovation at NuData Security. A person who answered the phone at the company's Vancouver office confirmed he worked there and said the company is working on a news release.


Brianne Rigetti, a former taekwondo teammate on the B.C. Senior Women's Pattern Team, said Elsa Wilk was a "fierce friend and competitor with a work ethic like no other."


"It didn't matter if you hadn't spoken for months or hours, it was always like no time had passed at all. She would be there for you at a moments notice, sometime even when you didn't know that was exactly what you needed," Rigetti said in a direct message on Facebook.


"I am so fortunate to have called her my friend, to have travelled and competed with her and to have shared a part of my life with her. She touched so many lives that are better for meeting her and there are a lot of people who lost an amazing friend, competitor, teammate and companion."


The float planes were carrying tourists from the Royal Princess cruise ship when they collided Monday near the southeast Alaska town of Ketchikan.


The death toll was initially reported as four, with two people missing. The U.S. Coast Guard said the bodies of the two missing people were recovered near the crash site Tuesday night.


Global Affairs Canada said Canadian consular officials in Seattle were in contact with local authorities to gather additional information and provide assistance as needed.


"Our thoughts and sympathies are with the family and loved ones of the Canadian citizen who died in Alaska," the department said.


The American victims were identified as 46-year-old pilot Randy Sullivan from Ketchikan, 62-year-old Cassandra Webb, 39-year-old Ryan Wilk and 46-year-old Louis Botha.


State troopers said the Australian was 56-year-old Simon Bodie.


The Royal Princess left Vancouver for Anchorage on Saturday and was to return on May 25.


One of the planes was a single-engine de Havilland Otter operated by Taquan Air and was returning from a wilderness tour of the Misty Fjords sold through Princess Cruises, the company said.


It was carrying 10 guests from the Royal Princess and a pilot, who were all Americans, the statement said.


The other plane, a de Havilland DHC-2 Beaver, was operating an independent flight tour carrying a pilot and four guests, the company added.


It's not known how the planes collided. U.S. National Transportation Safety Board investigators arrived from Washington, D.C., Tuesday afternoon.

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