Canadian News Jun 1, 2020 4:51 PM EST

Fatal Snowbird crash likely caused by bird strike

Investigators looking into the Canadian air force Snowbird crash that killed Capt. Jennifer Casey say that the crash was likely caused by a bird strike.

Fatal Snowbird crash likely caused by bird strike
Sam Edwards High Level, Alberta
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Investigators looking into the Canadian air force Snowbird crash that killed Capt. Jennifer Casey say that the crash was likely caused by a bird strike, reports CBC News.

Casey was a member of the Canadian Forces Snowbirds and worked as a public affairs officer—she was also a former journalist. She died when her aircraft crashed on May 17, after departing from Kamloops, B.C. She was 35-years-old.

The flight was part of a cross-country tour by the Snowbirds to recognize Canadian efforts during the coronavirus pandemic. It was called Operation Inspiration.

On Monday, a preliminary report was issued and investigators said video of the crash showed that there was a bird very close to the right engine intake while it was taking off.

The report suggested that it’s possible that the engine’s intake was struck by the bird.

The jet was still climbing before turning and entering a steep nosedive. It then crashed in a residential neighbourhood.

Casey ejected along with Capt. Richard MacDougall and the plane was destroyed as it hit the ground.

"The investigation is focusing on environmental factors (birdstrike) as well as the performance of the escape system," the report said.

MacDougall received injuries but will likely be able to fully recover. The investigation is still ongoing and it may take months for a final verdict on the cause of the crash to be reached.

Capt. Jennifer Casey’s body was returned to Halifax for a ramp ceremony and a motorcade in her hometown on Sunday, May 24—welcomed by family and friends.

It was transported to the Halifax Stanfield International Airport in a Royal Canadian Airforce plane, arriving at about 5 pm. Upon arrival, nine uniformed members carried it to a hearse waiting nearby.

During the ceremony, Casey’s parents, siblings, partner, grandparents and friends stood with Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan and Gov. Gen. Julie Payette.

Payette, a former astronaut, noted that she knew of the risks associated with air force work and said "accidents happen" when speaking with reporters.

"No matter how we train, we know that there are risky parts within this job. And that's why I'm so proud of them," she continued.

"The fact that this happened during Operation Inspiration, where they were going around cheering us Canadians, is even more touching."

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