Pilot killed in Gabriola Island crash was heir to German cookie empire
VICTORIA -- The pilot killed in Tuesday's plane crash on Gabriola Island was an heir to a German cookie fortune and a direct descendant of the company's founder, a German newspaper reports.
Alex Bahlsen was a successor to the Bahlsen biscuit empire and a great-grandson of company founder Hermann Bahlsen, according to German tabloid Bild.
The Bahlsen fortune was cemented in 1891 with the creation of the company's famous shortbread cookie, the Leibniz Butterkeks.
The private company is based in Hanover and exports its cookies and crackers around the world. A statement from the company Friday said Bahlsen, 61, had no official role within the cookie conglomerate.
Bahlsen immigrated to Canada more than 30 years ago and had homes in Alberta, Mexico and Mill Bay, B.C.
Close friends have identified Bahlsen as one of three people killed in the small plane crash that shook the small B.C. Gulf Island.
Raz Rydstrøm-Poulsen said he was friends with Bahlsen for about five years, and remembered him as funny, adventurous and an extremely capable pilot.
"He was amazing. I don't know what else to say," Rydstrøm-Poulsen said. "He was the smoothest, best pilot in the universe."
CTV News spoke with a member of Bahlsen's family who said the passengers who also died in the crash were close friends of the pilot, not relatives.
Bahlsen was flying his twin-engine Piper Aerostar into Nanaimo when witnesses report seeing it spiral out of control and slam into the northern tip of Gabriola Island just before 6:30 p.m.
The two passengers on board the aircraft have not yet been identified. On Friday afternoon, the BC Coroners Service said only that one passenger was a male and the other was a female.
The Transportation Safety Board and the BC Coroners Service continue to investigate.