One Canadian military member killed, one injured in CF Snowbirds accident

News Article / May 17, 2020

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National Defence and Canadian Armed Forces

One member of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) was killed on May 17, 2020, and another, Captain Richard MacDougall, was injured in an accident involving a Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) CT-114 Tutor aircraft near Kamloops, British Columbia.

Captain Jennifer Casey, the Snowbirds’ Public Affairs Officer, died in the accident. Captain Casey was from Halifax, Nova Scotia. She joined the Canadian Armed Forces in August 2014 as a direct entry officer, and joined the Snowbirds team in November 2018.

“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,” said Minister of National Defence Harjit S. Sajjan, “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.”

Captain Richard MacDougall, the pilot of the aircraft and one of the team’s coordinators, is being treated for his injuries.

“Another tragedy has hit our Canadian Armed Forces,” said General Jonathan Vance, Chief of the Defence Staff. “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, knowing that she was an inspiration to many, and that she will be missed. To Captain Richard MacDougall, we wish you a speedy recovery.”

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 Snowbirds were taking off from the Kamloops airport.

“The whole Defence Team family is deeply saddened by the loss of Captain Jenn Casey,” said Deputy Minister of National Defence Jody Thomas. “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.”

The CAF are providing our members and their families with as much support as possible to help them through this difficult time.

The CT-114 Tutor fleet has been placed on an operational pause, and Op Inspiration has been delayed indefinitely.

“Today, the RCAF has suffered another tragic loss of a dedicated member of the RCAF team,” said Lieutenant General Al Meinzinger, Commander Royal Canadian Air Force. “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.”

An RCAF Flight Safety team will soon depart from Ottawa to investigate the circumstances of the accident, and will begin working as soon as they arrive on-site. The investigation will be conducted to ensure that RCAF 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.

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