At least one person was killed and another injured when a Canadian Forces Snowbirds aircraft crashed in Kamloops, British Columbia, on Sunday. The crash occurred while the Snowbirds were performing a flyover as part of Operation Inspiration to honor first responders amid the coronavirus pandemic.
It is with heavy hearts that we announce that one member of the CF Snowbirds team has died and one has sustained serious injuries. We can confirm that we have contacted all primary family members of those involved. More information will be communicated in the near future.— CF Snowbirds (@CFSnowbirds) May 17, 2020
According to CBC, the crash occurred just before noon local time, shortly after the CT-114 Tutor aircraft took off from the Kamloops Airport. Witnesses said that the aircraft was following another jet before it suddenly veered upwards, circled the tarmac, and then went into a nosedive, crashing into the roof of a house.
"Just as I'm walking outside we hear this huge 'boom' and we come out and we just look down the street and there's just this big, huge thing of flames and smoke," a Kamloops resident told CTV network, WAPT reports. "It was quite emotional, quite scary. I was shaking."
The Canadian Armed Forces confirmed in a statement that Capt. Jenn Casey, a public affairs officer with the Snowbirds, died in the crash. From Halifax, Nova Scotia, Casey had joined the Canadian Armed Forces in August 2014 as a direct entry officer. Capt. Richard MacDougall, who was piloting the aircraft, suffered non-life threatening injuries.
The RCAF has suffered another tragic loss of a dedicated member of the RCAF team. We are deeply saddened and grieve alongside Jenn’s family and friends. Our thoughts are also with the loved ones of Captain MacDougall. We hope for a swift recovery from his injuries. - Comd RCAF pic.twitter.com/UZKJa6OT3S— CF Snowbirds (@CFSnowbirds) May 18, 2020
"I am deeply saddened by the tragic loss of one Canadian Armed Forces member, Captain Jennifer Casey, and one injured, Captain Richard MacDougall, in today’s Snowbirds aircraft crash in Kamloops, British Columbia. Our thoughts are with the families of Captain Casey and Captain MacDougall, as well as the entire Canadian Forces Snowbirds team, as they grieve this terrible loss. I would also like to thank the emergency personnel in Kamloops who responded so quickly to this tragic incident," Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in a statement. "For the past two weeks, the Snowbirds have been flying across the country to lift up Canadians during these difficult times. Every day, they represent the very best of Canada and demonstrate excellence through incredible skill and dedication. Their flyovers across the country put a smile on the faces of Canadians everywhere and make us proud. Sophie and I join all Canadians in offering our heartfelt condolences to the family and loved ones of Captain Jennifer Casey. All Canadians are with you during this difficult time."
The Sunday crash is currently under investigation, the CAF Flight Safety team confirmed. Kamloops RCMP are asking anyone who may have video of the crash to contact them. The Snowbirds will remain grounded for the time being.