Canadian Snowbirds captain dies in a crash while paying tribute to COVID warriors

In a tragic incident, a Canadian aerobatic jet crashed into a British Columbia neighbour during a flyover intended to honour the public effort against the Coronavirus. A member of Canadian air force aerobatics team “Snowbirds” died and another was injured.

The person killed was identified as Captain Jenn Casey, a Public Affairs Officer with the Air Force. Captain Richard MacDougall survived by landing on the roof of a house.

Captain Jennifer Casey

Casey joined the Canadian Armed Forces in August 2014 as a direct entry officer. She had been a broadcast radio reporter, anchor and producer in Halifax, Nova Scotia and Belleville, Ontario prior to joining the armed forces.

“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 Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) tweeted Sunday night.

The crash left debris scattered in the streets near the airport in the city of Kamloops, 260 miles (418 kilometres) northeast of Vancouver. The Snowbirds are Canada’s equivalent of the US Air Force Thunderbirds or US Navy’s Blue Angels.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau took to Twitter to express his deepest condolenses to Captain Casey’s loved ones, and wihsed full recovery to Captain Richard MacDougall.

“No noise, it was strange, and then the plane just did a cartwheel and fell right out of the sky. Just boom, straight down, and then a burst of black, black smoke,” witness Annette Schonewille told Radio Canada.

“We saw the pilot eject like maybe two stories high, and then the plane with no pilot in it went right between me and my neighbor’s house,” before finally hitting the neighbor’s bedroom window, another witness Nolyn Mcleod said.

“It was complete chaos. People were yelling and screaming. We thought we were getting bombed or something. That’s how hectic it was,” Mcleod added.

The Snowbirds’ signature nine-jet formation, with trailing white smoke, began its tour in Nova Scotia and was to perform aerial displays over cities from the Atlantic to the Pacific oceans, at elevations as low as 500 feet (150 meters).

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