Two Salmon Arm brothers among victims of fatal Kelowna crane collapse – .

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Two Salmon Arm brothers among victims of fatal Kelowna crane collapse – .


Five people died after a crane toppled from a residential tower and crashed into an adjacent building. Kelowna Mounted Police confirmed Wednesday morning that the fifth body was found.

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Three GoFundMe campaigns have been set up to help the families of four victims of the fatal crane collapse that occurred on Monday at a Kelowna construction site.

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Five construction workers were killed after the top of the crane tipped off the 25-story residential tower and crashed into an adjacent building. One of the workers was reported missing and presumed dead, but Kelowna gendarmes confirmed Wednesday morning that his body had been found.

A specialized team of Vancouver first responders recovered the body. Work began on Wednesday after an assessment of the site.

The Kelowna-area man is believed to have been working in an adjacent building when the crane fell, burying him under the rubble.

Crews worked to stabilize the crane and make sure the site is safe for search crews. Just after midnight, the Vancouver Fire Department’s heavy urban search and rescue team were able to enter the area and retrieve their remains, according to Kelowna RCMP.

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The gendarmes do not disclose the name of the man.

Among the dead are Eric and Patrick Stemmer, two brothers who worked for their family business Stemmer Construction, based in Salmon Arm.

“These men are husbands, fathers, sons, friends and chosen family for many, this sudden loss is just heartbreaking,” friend Emily Roy wrote on the GoFundMe page set up Tuesday to help the Stemmer family.

An image from a Stemmer Construction video showing the ill-fated crane at the Brooklyn Tower project in Kelowna. Photo on LinkedIn

Eric Stemmer, whose LinkedIn profile listed him as the construction superintendent, posted a video update of the construction project four months ago that celebrated the final pour of concrete on the 25th floor of the Brooklyn Tower.

“The pouring of the slab is the reward for hours of planning by our management team and countless hours of hard work by our on-site team,” wrote Stemmer, who leaves behind a pregnant woman and two young children.

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The video, shot by a drone camera, featured footage of the ill-fated Liebherr-made tower crane bearing the name Stemmer.

According to his LinkedIn profile, Patrick Stemmer, who was also married with two children, worked as a crane operator for Stemmer Construction.

The company, according to its website, was founded in 1990 by Wolfram Stemmer, who had immigrated from Germany the year before. The elder Stemmer is still listed as the president of the company.

Calls to Stemmer Construction were not answered on Tuesday.

Mel Arnold, MP for North Okanagan-Shuswap, knew the Stemmer brothers and was devastated to learn that they were among the five men who died on Monday.

“Eric and Patrick Stemmer… grew up just two doors away from us. Our hearts go out to the family and friends of all affected at this difficult time, ”Arnold said in a statement.

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Meanwhile, Jared Zook and Cailen Vilness were also identified by friends and family as crane workers killed on Monday.

A fundraising campaign was launched to help Zook’s parents in the Edmonton area, Pam and Steven Zook, cover funeral costs, lost wages and travel expenses.

“Our family is devastated by the loss of our fun, kind and loving son / brother / friend / nephew / cousin / husband. Our lives are infinitely better because he is a part of it, ”said campaign organizer Christa Walker.

Vilness, an avid snowboarder from Kelowna, was described on a GoFundMe page set up to help his girlfriend and family as a ‘man prince’ who ‘lived his life to the fullest’.

Jared Zook has been identified as one of the construction workers who died on Monday. Photo by GoFundMe

The RCMP are working with the BC Coroners Service, WorkSafeBC, the Kelowna Fire Department and engineers to determine the cause of the crash and what is needed to safely dismantle or secure parts of the crane in order to recover the human remains, MacIntosh said.

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Until then, a local emergency order prohibits anyone from entering the area.

MacIntosh said the RCMP would not speculate on the cause of the collapse, but that workers were preparing to dismantle the crane or were in the process of dismantling it.

“Why exactly this crane collapsed is part of the investigation,” he said.

“Obviously, something catastrophic has happened. “

Mission Group, the Kelowna-based development company that is building the residential tower, said on Tuesday the company was working with all investigators and authorities

CEO Jonathan Friesen said company staff and contractors were in shock and bereavement counseling had been offered to anyone who needed it.

Prime Minister John Horgan called the collapse tragic, saying it was “an event that, quite frankly, you wouldn’t expect to happen on a sunny July day here in British Columbia “.

“Yet it can happen,” he told a press conference. “We need to redouble our efforts in workplace safety and whatever findings WorkSafe presents or the Coroner presents, we will certainly implement across the province. “

– With files from Alistair Waters, Kelowna Daily Courier and The Canadian Press

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