OTTAWA – “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,” shares General Jonathan Vance, Chief of the Defence Staff.
One member of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) was killed on Sunday, May 17, 2020, and one other member injured in an accident involving a Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) CT-114 Tutor aircraft in the vicinity of Kamloops, British Columbia.
Killed was Captain Jennifer Casey, the team’s Public Affairs Officer, originally from Halifax, Nova Scotia.
The RCAF has suffered another tragic loss of a dedicated member of the RCAF team. We are deeply saddened and grieve alongside Jenn’s family and friends. Our thoughts are also with the loved ones of Captain MacDougall. We hope for a swift recovery from his injuries. – Comd RCAF pic.twitter.com/UZKJa6OT3S
— CF Snowbirds (@CFSnowbirds) May 18, 2020
Captain Richard MacDougall, one of the team’s coordinators and pilot of the aircraft, was injured and is being treated for his injuries.
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. The CAF is providing our members and their families with as much support as possible to help them through this difficult time.
An RCAF Flight Safety team will depart from Ottawa shortly to investigate the circumstances of the accident and will begin their work immediately upon arrival.
In a statement, Governor General Julie Payette says, “We are devastated at the loss of Captain Jennifer Casey, public affairs officer with the Snowbirds air demonstration team. In recent weeks, the Royal Canadian Air Force Snowbirds undertook Operation INSPIRATION, to pay tribute to all those working on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic. During a difficult time for our country, they were a source of hope, travelling across Canada away from their families, for us. Tonight, as this tight-knit group mourns the loss of one of their own, we grieve with them, as one family.
“On behalf of all Canadians, I offer my deepest condolences to the family, friends, and colleagues of Captain Casey. I would also like to extend my best wishes to the pilot injured in the crash for a speedy recovery. To the Royal Canadian Air Force, the military Public Affairs Branch, and the entire Canadian Armed Forces community, Canada stands with you today and in the days to come. You are in our hearts.”
“For the past two weeks, the Snowbirds have been flying across the country to lift up Canadians during these difficult times.” Prime Minister Trudeau said in a statement. “Their flyovers across the country put a smile on the faces of Canadians everywhere and make us proud.”
Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of National Defence says, “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.”
“The whole Defence Team family is deeply saddened by the loss of Captain Jenn Casey. Deepest condolences to her loved ones, and to her colleagues in the Snowbirds, the RCAF and her fellow Public Affairs Officers. We also wish Captain Richard MacDougall a steady recovery through these most difficult of times,” adds Jody Thomas, Deputy Minister of National Defence.
“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,” states Lieutenant General Al Meinzinger, Commander Royal Canadian Air Force.
Thunder Bay-Rainy River MP Marcus Powlowski states, “Sol and I are saddened by the news of the death of one of the Canadian Forces Snowbirds team after the plane crashed in BC today. Our deepest condolences to the family, friends and team.”
- The CT-114 Tutor fleet has been placed on an operational pause and Op INSPIRATION has been delayed indefinitely.
- Captain Jenn Casey is from Halifax, Nova Scotia. She joined the Canadian Armed Forces in August 2014 as a direct entry officer. Captain Casey joined the Canadian Forces Snowbirds in November 2018.
- 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.