The Snowbirds’ public affairs officer who was killed in a tragic crash Sunday is being remembered as a leader and team player.
Capt. Jenn Casey was killed when the CT-114 Tutor jet she was in crashed into a residential area shortly after takeoff. The pilot, Capt. Richard MacDougall suffered serious injuries.
Casey had been an online student at Victoria’s Royal Roads University in the Master of Arts in Human Security and Peacebuilding program.
Flags at the school have been lowered to half-mast.
“Jennifer’s courageous devotion to her country touched so many people and brought hope to Canadians at such a difficult time,” said a statement from the University
One of her classmates says she was an incredible team player and leader, who always put the needs of others first.
Casey was from Nova Scotia, and was previously a journalist before joining the forces. She was living her dream with the Snowbirds.
The loss already rocking a fragile country, the Snowbirds were touring Canada during the COVID-19 pandemic as part of Operation Inspiration — to bring hope in a difficult time.
The city is still shocked by the crash and a memorial has been set up outside the airport in Kamloops. Some gathered to lay notes, and others paid their respects with drumming.
When the crash happened, many rushed to the scene to help.
“I immediately ended the video and drove over to make sure [everyone was okay],” said witness Cory Cochran.
Cochran is one of the witnesses who captured the crash on video. The aircraft could be seen quickly gaining altitude before spinning into a dive.
There was also an ejection from the aircraft, and the pilot ended up on a roof after the crash.
Pieces of the plane were scattered on the street.
“I saw the elderly couple and they were walking out, they were a little shook up and obviously scared they didn’t know what was going on,” said Cochran.
“The attention turned to the pilot on the roof there and that’s when it got a bit scary.”
MacDougall was rushed to hospital with serious injuries. His mother was notified shortly after the crash.
“They told us he was alive and he was moving and talking, [it was] of course a relief,” said Paulette Richard. “But we also found out that he had lost Jenn, it was a moment of sadness, it really broke our hearts.”
Hopefully they will bring some answers to the heart-wrenching end to what was supposed to be a mission of hope.
With files from Tina Lovgreen and CBC News