Snowbirds team member dies after jet crashes in Kamloops, B.C.

Air Force confirms one Snowbird member has died

Reader warning: Sensitive content in this story.

The Royal Canadian Air Force says one Snowbird member has died from the crash.

“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.”

The Air Force confirmed that Captain Jenn Casey was the Snowbird killed.

The Snowbirds, in a tweet, said they grieve the loss: “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”

Her biography says she joined the Canadian Armed Forces August 2014 as a direct entry officer. Before joining she spent several years working in broadcast radio as a reporter, anchor, and producer in both Halifax, N.S and Belleville, ON.

She joined the Snowbirds in November 2018.

The Canadian Forces have said that the other person involved in the crash did not sustain life-threatening injuries.

The Canadian Forces Snowbirds jet crashed in Kamloops, B.C. today.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau sent out a tweet saying, “I have been in touch with @HarjitSajjan about the @CFSnowbirds crash in Kamloops, BC. My thoughts are with the brave members of the @RCAF_ARC. The CAF will provide an update as soon as possible.”

Federal Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan said in a statement that he was deeply saddened by the news of the crash.

B.C. RCMP said that emergency crews were at the scene of a plane crash in the North Shore area of Kamloops, BC.  

Police say that at about 11:42 am, reports were received that a Canadian Air Force Snowbird plane had crashed into a residence on Glenview Avenue.

Kamloops RCMP are requesting anyone that may have captured the incident on video to please call them at 250-828-3000. 

Spectators soon posted dramatic videos and photos on social media of the crash. Witnesses said it looked like the plane caught on fire before falling from the sky.

(Dan Mason/Twitter)

There were reports that the plane crashed near or on a home in Kamloops. Witnesses said the pilot landed with a parachute on the roof of a house in Kamloops. The house the pilot landed on was just a few homes away from where the plane crashed. 

Yesterday, on Instagram, one of the Snowbirds pilot posted that the team was in Kamloops and dealing with some “electrical malfunctions.”

The Snowbirds are based in Moose Jaw, Sask., and have been flying over cities across Canada to cheer people’s spirits during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown.

The unique mission dubbed, Operation INSPIRATION included the team’s signature nine-jet formation, with trailing white smoke, flying over cities across the country starting in Nova Scotia and working their way west.

The Snowbirds left CFB Greenwood May 3 at about 10:30 a.m and flew over Saint John at around 10:40 a.m. and then Fredericton at about 11 a.m. The team visited Portapique-area around 2:30 p.m. and Halifax around 3 p.m.

The Snowbirds flew over Saskatchewan on May 14.

They went to Cold Lake Alberta, Lloydminster and Cold Lake on May 14. They were in Fort McMurray and Edmonton on May 15.

The Canadian Air Force has had its Tutor jets since 1963 and used them in air demonstrations since 1971. Since then, seven pilots and one passenger have been killed.

Keith Arnold photo

-Sarah Murphy/Alberta Press

sarah.murphy@albertapressleader.ca

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