Jim Kowalski's plane crash death in Canada has been confirmed, but the circumstances of the accident that claimed the life of the Kowalski's founder remain somewhat clouded.
Reports of Jim Kowalski's plane crash began circulating Thursday, indicating the man who built a popular chain of upscale food markets from a single store had been killed in Canada.
A family spokeswoman said Jim Kowalski's plane crash wasn't precisely a crash, admitting that how the well-liked businessman had died is still under investigation.
Family spokeswoman Deb Kowalski explained cryptically:
"It was not a crash... and we don't exactly know how it happened."
TwinCities.com adds that Deb Kowalski says the plane crash explanation doesn't fit the circumstances. Kowalski tells the site that Jim, 67, was with a pilot friend on a Canadian fishing trip, and that the other man "heard a noise, and [Jim] was gone."
Competitor Tres Lund, CEO of Lunds and Byerly's, told the paper:
"We are in a state of shock and sadness. Jim was a great businessman and merchant, and he is going to be deeply missed by everyone who was fortunate to know him."
Musician Tim Mahoney, Kowalski's nephew, released a statement on Facebook this morning about his uncle Jim. Mahoney explained:
Initial reports indicate Jim Kowalski died of a head injury, and that he was outside the float plane as it taxied. A local news source reports what is known so far about the fatal accident:
"A report late Thursday night from Ontario Provincial Police indicated Kowalski was outside the Cessna float plane as it was taxiing to shore on an isolated lake, about 20 miles south of the town of Red Lake and nearly 300 miles northwest of Thunder Bay. The investigation is ongoing and the cause of death hasn't been determined, Ontario Provincial Constable David Lamme said."
While Jim Kowalski's plane crash was not precisely a crash, authorities are still investigating the aircraft related fatality as relatives and locals mourn the Kowalski's founder.