KAMLOOPS | A CT-114 Tutor belonging to the Canadian Forces Snowbirds has crashed into a house in Kamloops, British Columbia, killing one and injuring another.
Two a jets belonging to the squadron took off from Kamloops bound for Comox at around 11:30 on Sunday 17th May, but one quickly turned back towards the airport, entered a steep dive and crashed with two people on board.
The Royal Canadian Air Force said: “It is with heavy hearts that we announce that one member of the CF Snowbirds team has died and one has sustained serious injuries.”
The team’s Public Affairs Officer, Captain Jennifer Casey, was killed in the accident. Capt. Casey joined the RCAF in 2014 and previously served as PAO for the CF-18 Demo Team, and joined the Snowbirds last year. On social media, the Snowbirds described Capt. Casey as a “dedicated member” of the team.
“We are deeply saddened and grieve alongside Jenn’s family and friends,” said Lieutenant General Al Meinzinger, Commander of the Royal Canadian Air Force. “Our thoughts are also with the loved ones of Captain MacDougall. We hope for a swift recovery from his injuries.”
The second team member involved, Snowbird #11 Capt. Richard MacDougall, is the team’s advance pilot and coordinator, was able to eject and landed on the roof of a house. He was taken to hospital with serious injuries, but was not thought to be in a life-threatening condition, according to the RCAF.
There do not appear to have been any injuries on the ground.
The Snowbirds are Canada’s national aerobatic team and operate the ageing CT-114 Tutor, a former RCAF training aircraft which was retired from regular service in 2000. The team have recently been performing flypasts across Canada as part of Operation Inspiration, giving thanks to healthcare workers and boosting morale.
The team had been due to leave Kamloops for Kelowna, performing flypasts along the way as part of Operation Inspiration. However, low cloud forced a last-minute change of plan and the team instead announced they would be flying to Comox, from which they would later stage further flybys.
Last year, a Snowbirds aircraft crashed before the Atlanta Airshow following engine problems. The pilot was able to eject and survived with only minor injuries.