An aircraft with the Canadian Forces Snowbirds demonstration jet team crashed in Kamloops, B.C., on Sunday.
The Royal Canadian Air Force confirmed a snowbird had gone down “in the vicinity of Kamloops.”
“This is a developing situation. Our number one priority at this time is determining the status of our personnel, the community and supporting emergency personnel,” said the RCAF in a statement.
“When appropriate, more information will be made available.”
Dana Hings told Global News she was at home, watching the Snowbirds when she heard a crash.
“We thought it broke the sound barrier and we come over onto the deck and we see smoke, so we raced over,” she said.
“I’m a retired nurse, so of course I went into the backyard and there was a woman, she was in the plane and she was deceased.
“We worked on her for quite a while, but, there, just she had catastrophic injuries.”
The BC Coroners Service has not confirmed a fatality.
Hings said the other occupant of the plane was able to eject and landed on a nearby roof.
Video from the scene appears to show two people ejecting from the jet before it crashes.
Mike Trafford, who lives near the airport, told Global News the aircraft had just taken off when something went wrong.
“Then the plane took a nosedive and went straight down.”
The BC Ambulance Service says it received a call around 11:30 a.m. and deployed multiple units, both ground and air.
One patient was taken to hospital by ground ambulance, but their condition is not yet clear.
Trafford said the aircraft crashed into a residential area, on Glenview Avenue, near Crestline Street.
“I’m just just hoping that everyone’s OK. I hope that, you know, whatever happened happened and that the pilots are OK and whoever was in the house is OK.”
The Snowbirds were performing a flight across B.C.’s interior as a part of their cross-Canada tour dubbed Operation Inspiration, to raise spirits during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Early Sunday morning and then again about an hour before the crash, the team posted on Twitter that its flight plans were being disrupted by rain and low visibility.
Eight Snowbird pilots have died since 1972 while on duty, according to the Royal Canadian Air Force website.
This includes seven pilots and one passenger killed during flights, while one pilot was killed in a car accident after an airshow in the U.S. in the 1980s.
First created in 1971, the Snowbirds have performed at airshows in Canada and the U.S. for decades, flying the Canadair CT-114 Tutor. The jet was first acquired in the 1960s to train student pilots — the version flown by the Snowbirds has been modified, including a “more highly-tuned engine to enhance performance during low-level aerobatic flying.”
In October 2019, a Snowbirds pilot was forced to eject from his plane at an airshow in the U.S. The plane fell in an unpopulated area, and there were no resulting injuries.
Source: global news