A Canadian Air Force jet crashed, killing one of the military personnel on board, in Kamloops, British Columbia, on Sunday during a flyover that was intended as a tribute to Canadians, especially those on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic, the authorities said.
Capt. Jenn Casey, who was a spokeswoman for the Canadian Forces Snowbirds, a demonstration team, was identified by the authorities as the military member who died in the crash.
“The RCAF has suffered another tragic loss of a dedicated member of the RCAF team,” the Royal Canadian Air Force said on Twitter. “We are deeply saddened and grieve alongside Jenn’s family and friends.”
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 pic.twitter.com/8U41bdVqcU
— Royal Canadian Air Force (@RCAF_ARC) May 18, 2020
The pilot, Capt. Richard MacDougall, was hurt, though the injuries were not considered life-threatening, the air force said on Twitter.
The white and red jet took off alongside another and did a wide turn once in flight, according to a video posted on Twitter. Shortly after, the plane could be seen heading downward.
It appeared that two people ejected from the plane in a plume of dark smoke before the aircraft nose-dived into a house in the Brocklehurst neighborhood of Kamloops, which is about 220 miles northeast of Vancouver.
The Canadian Forces Snowbirds last month announced Operation Inspiration. The mission consisted of the squadron flying over cities across Canada in a nine-jet formation with trailing white smoke. The Snowbirds were scheduled to start in Nova Scotia and work their way west throughout the week.
Squadron officials could not be immediately reached for comment on Sunday night.
The planes had taken off from Kamloops Airport at 11:40 a.m. local time. Details on the second plane were not immediately available.
Witnesses said they had heard a loud boom and soon realized a plane had crashed in the area.
“No one knew what it was at the time,” said Kelly Badesso, 46, the owner of Mike’s Transmissions, an auto shop near the crash site. “I could see the smoke from the other side of town. There’s debris and stuff in people’s yards.”
The crash occurred close to the corner of Glenview Avenue and Scheiner Street, according to Jason Hewlett, a radio show host who lives in the area.
“We live six or seven miles away from the crash and we heard a really loud boom,” Mr. Hewlett said. “You could see the smoke so we decided to walk toward it. The smell was really strong. You could start to smell the burning fuel.”
“Kamloops Fire Rescue is working closely with assisting agencies including the RCMP, BC Ambulance, the YKA Crash Truck, Airport Authorities, and Military representatives,” the statement said.