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B.C. man picking up final citizenship document killed in Ethiopian plane crash

Last Updated Mar 15, 2019 at 11:20 pm PDT

Wreckage lies at the scene of an Ethiopian Airlines flight that crashed shortly after takeoff at Hejere near Bishoftu, or Debre Zeit, some 50 kilometers south of Addis Ababa, in Ethiopia Sunday, March 10, 2019. (AP Photo)

An Okanagan man died trying to get the paperwork needed to become a Canadian citizen

Jack Wang was on his way to Kenya to get a piece of paper needed so he and his family could become citizens

He was one of 157 people who died in last week's Ethiopian Airlines plane crash

OKANAGAN (NEWS 1130) – An Okanagan man has been linked to last week’s deadly Ethiopian Airlines crash, and it turns out that the only reason he was on that plane was so he and his family could become Canadian citizens.

Jack Wang was on his way to Kenya to get a document he needed to get his citizenship, which is when he boarded the deadly 302 flight.

“He just really enjoyed being here in Canada,” says Garnet Willet, who’s worked at Wang’s business in Vernon for four years.

RELATED: Eighteen Canadians dead in Ethiopian Airlines crash

Willet says the 47-year-old had travelled to Kenya the week before but had to return after the original obtained for his process was not accepted by the Canadian government.

“He was only going to be there for like three days to get new fingerprints done for the Canadian government for his immigration status, and unfortunately there was an accident,” Willet says, noting he leaves a wife and two daughters behind.

Willet says Wang was sponsoring his family’s citizenship but adds it’s unclear what will happen to Wang’s family now that the main applicant has passed away.

“It’s going to come down to the immigration people as for the three of them because he was the primary, they were the dependants so it’s all going to come down to the Canadian government.”

WATCH: Memorial vigil for Ethiopian plane crash victim


He says Wang’s wife and one of his daughters are currently in Ethiopia dealing with the aftermath of the crash.

Wang needed to obtain a criminal background check from Kenya because he lived there for a few years 20 years ago, Willet adds, noting it was a requirement for his citizenship.

As for the business, Willet says they will all do their best to keep it afloat and help his family. Wang bought the Big O Tires in Vernon back in 2016.