The pilot who tragically lost his life in a CF-18 Hornet crash near Cold Lake, AB yesterday has been identified as Capt. Thomas McQueen of Hamilton, On.
“We are deeply saddened by this incident and express our deepest sympathies to the family, friends and loved ones of Captain Thomas McQueen. We now turn our attention to providing whatever support we can to his family and to our men and women here in Cold Lake, who are deeply saddened by the loss of Captain McQueen,” said Col. Paul Doyle, Commander 4 Wing and CFB Cold Lake.
The crash took place shortly after 11 a.m. MST on Nov. 28. McQueen was said to be on a routine training mission when the Hornet crashed not far from the Primrose Lake Evaluation Range. Emergency services from 4 Wing, including 417 Combat Support Squadron, rushed to the scene to respond to the crash.
“On behalf of the men and women of 1 Canadian Air Division, I would like to extend my deepest condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of Captain McQueen. The Royal Canadian Air Force is a tight knit community and we are all mourning the loss of one of our own today,” stated BGen. David Lowthian, Acting Commander, 1 Canadian Air Division.
Capt. McQueen was a ten year veteran who had flown on deployments in eastern Europe and had combat flight time in the Middle East on Operation Impact, reports CBC News Edmonton.
In 2014, Thomas “Toast” McQueen was chosen as one of Santa’s escort pilots for the annual Canadian North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) Region Track Santa program.
Capt. McQueen was also engaged to be married soon.
“We have lost a member of our RCAF family, and it hurts. We will support the family of Captain McQueen, and his squadron, to the fullest. And while the investigation determines the cause of this incident, I commend our men and women who through their grief will continue to serve Canada to their fullest. Thomas, we will miss you,” stated LGen. Mike Hood, Commander, Royal Canadian Air Force.
General Jonathan Vance, Chief of the Defence Staff, issued the following statement today on the passing of Capt. McQueen:
“Every day, members of the Canadian Armed Forces prepare themselves for the responsibility of shielding their fellow citizens from harm. That training is both rigorous and demanding. It has to be.
“Sadly, that training has claimed the life of one of our own. Captain Thomas McQueen was a dedicated RCAF officer with 10 years of service. To his comrades and coworkers at 4 Wing Cold Lake, I offer my sympathy. I encourage you to seek solace and support in this difficult time.”
Minister of National Defence, Harjit Sajjan also issued a statement today to offer his condolences.
“It is with profound sadness that I learned yesterday of the death of Captain Thomas McQueen, a CF-18 pilot from the Royal Canadian Air Force, who served his country proudly and bravely. Captain McQueen was lost in a tragic training accident that occurred yesterday at the Cold Lake Air Weapons Range in Saskatchewan, not far from the Primrose Lake Evaluation Range.
“This is truly a sad time for Canada. On behalf of all the members of the Canadian Armed Forces, I would like to convey our deepest condolences to the family and friends of Captain McQueen. Our thoughts and prayers are with them, and we are keeping them in our hearts as they grieve,” stated Sajjan.
He also added that the Canadian Armed Forces has launched a Flight Safety team to investigate the cause of the crash.