UPDATE 8:20 p.m.: A member of the Snowbirds’ team has died following the crash. A second individual who was transported to the hospital is confirmed to have serious, but not life threatening, injuries.
“It is with heavy hearts that we announce that one member of the CF Snowbirds team has died and one has sustained serious injuries,” reads a statement from the Royal Canadian Air Force. “We can confirm that we have contacted all primary family members of those involved. More information will be communicated in the near future.”
Update: Our previous statement indicated that the surviving member of the crash suffered serious injuries, we can confirm that their injuries are not considered life threatening.— Royal Canadian Air Force (@RCAF_ARC) May 18, 2020
Global News reported that the single casualty of the crash is Captain Jennifer Casey, the Public Affairs Officer for the Snowbirds.
Mercedes Stephenson, Global News’ Ottawa Bureau Chief, wrote on Twitter that she immediately called Casey for comment following the crash and was worried after getting no response.
“Captain Casey was an absolutely spectacular human being and those of us in the media will very much miss working with her,” Stephenson said in a tweet.
Global News is reporting Captain Jennifer Casey, the Public Affairs Officer for @CFSnowbirds has died in the plane crash in Kamloops according to multiple sources. Her family has been notified of this tragedy. #CAF #RIP— Mercedes Stephenson (@MercedesGlobal) May 17, 2020
ORIGINAL ARTICLE: A Royal Canadian Air Force Snowbirds jet crashed into a residential area of a small city in British Columbia during a national tour to salute frontline healthcare workers amid the coronavirus pandemic, triggering a significant emergency response on Sunday afternoon.
Witnesses say that at least part of the CT-114 Tutor jet struck near or on a house in the Brocklehurst neighbourhood of Kamloops and caused a fire. Video footage shared by local reporters appear to show the pilot ejecting before the the plane slams into the ground.
The aircraft used by the Snowbirds demo squadron have two seats and often fly with a technician between shows, according to aircraft analysts. However, there has yet to be any confirmation a second individual was on board.
The jet took off in tandem with a similar aircraft but a few seconds after takeoff it appears to break off and drift upwards before hurtling downwards.
The Snowbirds were scheduled to take the “Operation Inspiration” Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island on Sunday. Takeoff was initially delayed due to inclement weather.
The jets had arrived in Kamloops on Saturday after carrying out flyovers in Alberta.
A collection of dramatic videos shared to social media and by local news sources show the crash as it happened.
(Reporting by Eli Ridder; Update reporting by Jack Fisher; Editing by Scotty Hertz; Jack Fisher)