Canadian Air Force Jet Celebrating Pandemic Workers Crashes Into House
A member of the Canadian Air Force has died after their jet crashed into a house during a celebration for frontline workers.
Captain Jenn Casey was onboard the plane as part of Operation Inspiration, a nationwide mission aimed at saluting first responders and other essential workers risking their lives during the outbreak.
The crash occurred shortly after the plane took off, just before midday on Sunday, May 17, in Kamloops, northeast of Vancouver. Footage that appeared to capture the tragic scene shows two planes taking off side by side, before Casey’s jet veered up into the sky and started spiralling towards the ground.
You can watch the footage here:
The plane struck a house as it crashed, and the Royal Canadian Air Force has since confirmed Casey died as a result. The captain joined the armed forces in 2014 and four years later became a member of The Snowbirds, a military aerobatics squadron.
Capt. Richard MacDougall was piloting the plane and is said to have been seriously injured during the incident, though his injuries are not life-threatening. It is unclear whether anyone was in the house that was hit.
Kerri Turatus, who lives in the British Columbia neighbourhood where the plane crashed, said the jet engulfed the house in flames when it hit the ground. According to NBC, the local described the crash as sounding ‘like a gunshot’.
Turatus saw a ‘big black circle ring of smoke’ and could see parts of the plane littering the street and sticking out of a neighbour’s garage.
Prime Minster Justin Trudeau commented on the tragic incident, saying:
Our thoughts are with the families of Captain Casey and Captain MacDougall, as well as the entire Canadian Forces Snowbirds team, as they grieve this terrible loss.
For the past two weeks, the Snowbirds have been flying across the country to lift up Canadians during these difficult times. 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… All Canadians are with you during this difficult time.
General Jonathan Vance, Chief of the Defence Staff, noted Operation Inspiration ‘brought joy to Canadians’ across the country.
Today, we come together in their time of need. To the family of Captain Jenn Casey we send our condolences, know that she was an inspiration to many and she will be missed. To Captain Richard MacDougall, we wish you a speedy recovery.
Operation Inspiration has now been delayed indefinitely, as the Department of National Defence said it will conduct a flight safety investigation to ensure personnel ‘can continue to have confidence’ in equipment and procedures.
A Royal Canadian Air Force flight safety team will fly from Ottawa to Kamloops to investigate the circumstances of the crash.
Our thoughts are with the friends and family of both Captain Casey and Captain MacDougall at this tragic time.
If you have experienced a bereavement and would like to speak with someone in confidence contact Cruse Bereavement Care via their national helpline on 0808 808 1677.
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JUSTIN TRUDEAU, PRIME MINISTER OF CANADA