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Former MLA Harold Long dies in plane crash

Harold James Long, who served as the Liberal MLA for Powell River-Sunshine Coast from 2001 to 2005, has died in a float plane crash.

Long was the pilot and sole occupant of a DHC-2 Beaver that was spotted overturned in the Bute Inlet on the west side of Stuart Island on Tuesday, May 21. A person walking on the beach saw the plane and notified authorities. Search-and-rescue technicians, the Canadian Coast Guard and the RCMP went to the scene and recovered the body, and today, the B.C. Coroners Service confirmed Long's identity.

The B.C. Coroners Service, Transportation Safety Board and RCMP will continue to investigate his death.

Long was first elected to the Legislature as a Social Credit MLA for Mackenzie in 1986. He served in that position until 1991, and in 1992 was elected to the Powell River municipal council. Long was born in Powell River.

Premier Christy Clark, who served with Long in the Leg from 2001 to 2005, issued a statement this morning that read in part: "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."

Long was 72 years old.

Colleen Kimmett reports for The Tyee.

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