WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
- During a tribute to the COVID-19 essential workers, an air force member succumbed to death after her jet crashed into a residential neighborhood.
- A witness said there was a circle of black smoke seen in the sky prior to the aircraft’s crashing to the ground.
- The air force exercise was one of the events of Operation Inspiration, which was launched on April 29.
On Sunday, Canadian authorities confirmed that a member of its elite air force regiment died when a jet crashed into a residential home in British Columbia during an event dedicated to coronavirus front-liners.
The Royal Canadian Air Force said that the accident claimed the life of Capt. Jenn Casey, a public affairs officer who was with the “Snowbirds” since 2018.
Authorities also confirmed that Capt. Richard MacDougall, another member of the squadron, suffered from serious injuries.
Reports said the accident happened before noon at Kamploons, a northeastern part of Vancouver. The exercise was one of the highlights of Operation Inspiration, a countrywide flight mission giving tribute to COVID-19 responders and other essential workers amidst the crisis.
The Snowbirds is officially called the 431 Air Demonstration Squadron, and it is the Royal Canadian Air Force’s air aerobatics group with base in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan.
A video surfaced showing the two jet aircraft going up on the skies and flying side-by-side only a few seconds before the crash. One of the jets swerves into the atmosphere, and, after a while, it was seen soaring down the ground.
At around that time, Kamloops Airport advised via tweet that the emergency team is responding to the scene.
Kerri Turatus, a 30-year-old resident of the neighborhood where the plane crashed, described the sound was as loud as a gunshot when the jet went in flames immediately after plunging into a house.
Turatus also said that before hitting a house, she saw a black ring smoke from the sky, adding that part of the wreck such as the wing was seen on neighbor’s garage, and other debris scattered on the street. Photos also showed the structure was set ablaze because of the crash.
Reports did not indicate if there were people inside the home when the jets crashed, and Kamloops city confirmed that a house was indeed struck.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said via Twitter that his prayers are for those brave pilots of the Royal Canadian Air Force and confirmed that he is to coordinate with Harjit Sajjan, the nation’s defense minister, about the accident.
Capt. Casey had previously worked as a broadcast journalist in Ontario and Halifax for a few years before joining the armed forces in 2014, as reported by the Royal Canadian Air Force.
Source: NBC News