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'We're a military town': Kamloops' mayor, fire chief pledge support for squadron after Snowbirds crash

Last Updated May 18, 2020 at 12:51 am MDT


The plane crashed just before noon Sunday during a scheduled fly-over as part of Operation Inspiration

Local leaders addressed Kamloops' residents, offered support to the military

Capt. Jennnifer Casey died in the crash, another member was seriously injured

KAMLOOPS (NEWS 1130) — A residential neighborhood near the Kamloops airport has been cordoned off while awaiting the arrival of military investigators after a fatal Snowbirds jet crash Sunday.

Capt. Jennnifer Casey died in the crash. The pilot, Capt. Richard MacDougall, was seriously injured.

The Snowbirds are now grounded in Kamloops, where Mayor Ken Christian says the city will do everything it can to support the squadron.

“We’re a military town,” he said at a press conference Sunday. “So this accident today really shakes us to our core, but we will respond to it in every way that we can to support the Canadian military as well as the women and men in service.”

The plane crashed in the Brocklehurst neighbourhood, bordered by the Thompson River and the airport, leaving one house in flames and a large field of debris.

“This has really shaken that neighbourhood,” Christian said. “This was a tragic scene that had a huge response from emergency vehicles –not something you would expect in the middle of May on a long weekend in Kamloops.”

The Snowbirds landed in Kamloops Saturday.

“Yesterday was inspirational in Kamloops,” Christian said. “Operation Inspiration performed here yesterday and they were widely received and welcomed by the citizens of Kamloops.”

The tour is meant to salute Canadians responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.

RELATED: ‘Such complete devastation’: Witnesses describe fatal Snowbirds crash in Kamloops

Fire Chief Mike Adams said five or six properties have been evacuated, and one person who lives in the neighbourhood was injured.

He thanked everyone at the crash scene for their calm, and their cooperation.

“Credit to the neighbours of the Brocklehurst area. They were very respectful, allowing other people to do the good work that we do,” he said.

“There was a tremendous amount of cooperation among agencies.”

The Prime Minister also sent out thanks to first responders.

Canada’s Department of National Defence said in a statement a team of investigators is being deployed.

“A RCAF Flight Safety team will depart from Ottawa shortly to investigate the circumstances of the accident and will begin their work immediately upon arrival,” it reads.

“A Flight Safety Investigation will be conducted to ensure our personnel can continue to have confidence in our equipment and procedures. One of the aims of the Flight Safety program is to investigate such occurrences with the objective of quickly identifying effective preventive measures that will either prevent or reduce the risk of similar occurrences in the future.”

The statement also says that Operation Inspiration has been “delayed indefintiely.”