Kelowna crane collapse: Brothers remembered at vigil; Aaron Pritchett posts tribute to victim on social media
Victims of the devastating crane collapse in Kelowna were remembered over the weekend through vigils and social media tributes.
Canadian country star Aaron Pritchett posted to Instagram Sunday, nearly a week after a crane crashed to the ground at a Kelowna worksite.
Pritchett said one of the victims, Cailen Vilness, was his cousin's youngest son.
"Although he technically was a second cousin to me, Cailen was my nephew. I was always Uncle Aaron to him and I love him as one," Pritchett wrote.
"His infectious smile and laugh, sense of kindness and care warmed my heart and anyone he met. He was truly a prince of a man."
In his tribute, Pritchett said 23-year-old Vilness "was taken far too soon."
"Some people are put on Earth as angels. To be a light for those who need positivity, happiness and boost your will to live; Cailen was one of those people," he wrote.
"You will be missed by all and always loved, Cailen, and never, ever forgotten … I love you, buddy."
Honouring two brothers killed in the incident, a vigil was held in Salmon Arm, B.C., Sunday. People lit candles and laid flowers to remember Patrick and Eric Stemmer who were working at the site on July 12. Their family owns Stemmer Construction, which was involved in building the Kelowna highrise.
The brothers each left behind their wives and children.
Tributes at the vigil remembered the Stemmer brothers' "infectious smiles," with loved ones calling them "amazing men."
In total, five men were killed in the collapse. Four were working at the construction site, while the fifth was working in a nearby office building.
The boom of the crane was extended toward the top of the tower, which will be 25 storeys high when completed, when it came crashing down, striking buildings below.
It is not yet known what caused the collapse, and investigations are being conducted by both the local RCMP detachment and officials with WorkSafeBC, the province's workers' compensation board.
With files from CTV News Vancouver's Kendra Mangione and Michele Brunoro