On Sunday, May 17, 2020, a member of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) died, and another member was injured in the accident involving a Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) CT-114 Tutor aircraft.
Captain Jennifer Casey, the team’s Public Affairs Officer, originally from Halifax, Nova Scotia, died in the crash.
Captain Richard MacDougall, one of the team’s coordinators and pilot of the aircraft, was injured and is being treated for his injuries.
“Today, the RCAF has suffered another tragic loss of a dedicated member of the RCAF team. We grieve alongside Jenn’s family, friends, and colleagues and are deeply saddened. Our thoughts also go out to the loved ones of Captain Richard MacDougall. We hope for a swift recovery from his injuries,” stated Lieutenant General Al Meinzinger, Commander Royal Canadian Air Force in the press release.
According to her biography, Casey joined the Canadian Armed Forces in August 2014 as a direct entry officer. Before joining the forces spent several years working in broadcast radio as a reporter, anchor, and producer in both Halifax, NS and Belleville, ON.
Her first assignment as a Public Affairs Officer was at 8 Wing Trenton, the Royal Canadian Air Force’s home of air mobility. She spent the 2018 season with the CF-18 Demo Team, travelling North America and the United Kingdom with the NORAD 60 jet. Captain Casey joined the Canadian Forces Snowbirds in November 2018.
“Another tragedy has hit our Canadian Armed Forces. The Snowbirds’ Op INSPIRATION brought joy to Canadians across our 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,” stated General Jonathan Vance, Chief of the Defence Staff.
The press release stated, “The Canadian Forces Snowbirds were deployed on Operation INSPIRATION, a cross-Canada tour to lift the spirits of Canadians and salute front-line workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. At the time of the accident, the CF Snowbirds were taking off from the airport in Kamloops, British Columbia.”
An RCAF Flight Safety team will depart from Ottawa shortly to investigate the accident circumstances and begin their work immediately upon arrival.
“I was deeply saddened to learn of the loss of one of our Canadian Armed Forces members in a tragic incident involving one of our Snowbirds’ aircraft in Kamloops, British Columbia. I am sending my sincerest condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of Captain Jenn Casey. I am also wishing a rapid and complete recovery for Captain Richard MacDougall. Canadians look at the Snowbirds as a source of joy and an exhibition of the incredible feats that our people in uniform are capable of. Operation INSPIRATION was intended to lift the spirit of Canadians at this difficult time and the Snowbirds accomplished their mission. I know that all Canadians grieve this tragic loss,” stated Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of National Defence.
This is the second air crash in less than a month. Last month as CH-148 Cyclone carrying six CAF personnel crashed over the Ionia Sea. All personnel involved in the crash lost their lives.