A husband and wife known for their business success and philanthropy were killed, along with their 24-year-old daughter, when their plane crashed Monday en route to a vacation destination in Maine.
According to the Canadian Press, 58-year-old Joe Robertson, his wife, Anita, also 58, and Laura Robertson were aboard the plane they flew from Canada.
Witnesses described what appeared to be a botched attempt at an emergency landing.
Joe Robertson was known throughout Ontario and beyond for his success in the private sector, establishing a dental supply company that he sold in his 30s. The deal made him a millionaire.
Carman Adair, a business partner, described him as “a machine,” saying he was “brilliant and caring and thoughtful and fair” in his business dealings.
It was Joe Robertson who was piloting the aircraft, according to reports.
Adair said he couldn’t believe his friend, with whom he had recently firmed up a deal to re-engage in a business venture, was dead along with his family amid the wreckage of the Piper Aerostar twin-engine plane.
The aircraft reportedly bypassed the local airport and crashed to the ground a short time later after apparently attempting a corrective maneuver.
Joe Robertson contacted air traffic controllers to report that the plane lost engine power shortly before the crash, according to a statement from a National Transportation Safety Board spokesperson.
A former mayor of St. Catharines remembered the family as “genuine, decent people” who donated extensively to the local community.
“They will be missed,” Brian McMullan said.
[Featured image: Joe and Anita Robertson, handout]