- The Snowbirds jet was out on a tour to salute Canadians for their efforts in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.
- Residents of Kamloops ran out and tried to put out the fire.
- The Prime Minister, Leader of the Opposition, Defense Minister and Chief of Staff all expressed their condolences.
One person has died after a Canadian Forces Snowbird plane crashed into a residential neighborhood in Kamloops, British Columbia. Another crew member was seriously injured. “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 said in a tweet.
The Snowbirds jet was out on a tour to salute Canadians for their efforts in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic. “Operation Inspiration was intended to lift the spirit of Canadians at this difficult time and the Snowbirds accomplished their mission,” Defense Minister Harjit Sajjan said in a statement. “I know that all Canadians grieve this tragic loss.”
The Snowbirds jets are known to perform aerobatic stunts for the public. “Canadians look at the Snowbirds as a source of joy and an exhibition of the incredible feats that our people in uniform are capable of,” he added. A video posted on Twitter showed two jets flying together shortly after take-off. Before one of them goes upwards before a nose-dive, a person is seen ejecting from it before the plane disappears and then an explosion is heard.
Witness Annette Schonewille said she saw the jet fall from the sky. “The one plane continued and the other one, there was two puffs, it looked like puffs of smoke and one… was a ball of fire,” she said. “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.” Residents ran out and tried to put out the fire.
The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, who announced the Snowbirds’ cross-country tour, dubbed Operation Inspiration, sent his heartfelt condolences. “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.”
The Conservative leader, Andrew Scheer, also sent his condolences and wished the injured a speedy recovery. He added that the accident had brought a tragic end to a tour that was to bring so much joy to many people.
The Chief of the Defense Staff Jonathan Vance said the accident was yet another blow to the Canadian Armed Forces.
“The Snowbirds’ Op INSPIRATION brought joy to Canadians. We come together in their time of need. To the family of Capt Jenn Casey we send our condolences know that she was an inspiration to many, she will be missed. To Capt Richard MacDougall, we wish you a speedy recovery.”
The Mayor of Kamloops, Ken Christian, thanked Kamloops Airport, BC Ambulance Service, and Fire and Rescue for their quick response, adding that the crash had shaken the city. According to the Royal Canadian Air Force, eight Snowbird pilots have died while on duty since the inception of its services. In October, a Snowbird jet headed for an air show in US city of Atlanta crashed in uninhabited area.