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Calgary pilot dies minutes after takeoff leaving a New York airport

Family and friends are remembering Natalie Gillis for her love of flying and as a nature lover with a passion for the outdoors and more. Family and friends are remembering Natalie Gillis for her love of flying and as a nature lover with a passion for the outdoors and more.
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Family and friends are remembering Natalie Gillis for her love of flying and as a nature lover with a passion for the outdoors and more.

The 34-year-old was piloting her twin-engine piper aircraft, leaving an Albany, N.Y. airport and destined for Montreal, when it crashed around two minutes after takeoff.

The aircraft went down in a wooded area, by homes and the library in the nearby community of Colonie.

Security video obtained by CTV News shows the moment the aircraft went down shortly after 8:15 a.m. on Monday.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) says Gillis experienced an "extreme loss of control in the cockpit" before her plane went down.

The aircraft went down in a wooded area, by homes and the library in the nearby community of Colonie.

Matthew Yap, Gillis's brother, posted about the loss on social media.

"It is with heavy hearts that we announce the passing of our beloved daughter, sister and friend, Natalie Gillis," he said on Facebook.

"Natalie tragically passed away on June 17, 2024, in Albany, N.Y., doing what she loved."

In her obituary, Gillis's family remembered her passion for the camera and storytelling.

"Observing narwhals breach from the floe edge in Nunavut, trekking through the valleys of Baffin Island, encountering penguins and icebergs while sea kayaking in Antarctica and experiencing the world from the bird's-eye view of her favourite plane, the Twin Otter," her family said.

Gillis's celebration of life will be held in Toronto on Sunday.

In her obituary, Gillis's family remembered her passion for the camera and storytelling.

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