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Snowbird jets grounded after crash take off from airport in Kamloops, B.C.

KAMLOOPS, B.C. — A pair of Snowbird jets took off from Kamloops, B.C., Tuesday, more than three months after a fatal crash near the city’s airport.

The jets were given approval last week to head to their home base in Moose Jaw, Sask., after being grounded because of the crash on May 17.

Capt. Jennifer Casey, the team’s public affairs officer, was killed, while pilot Capt. Richard MacDougall was seriously hurt.

It’s believed the plane went down shortly after hitting a bird while taking off from the airport, crashing in a Kamloops neighbourhood. 

Lt.-Col. Denis Bandet, the Snowbirds’ commanding officer, says the team intends to return to Kamloops next week to get the rest of the planes.

Bandet says the Snowbirds will be forever grateful to the residents of Kamloops for their support during a difficult time.

He says MacDougall is recovering from his injuries and getting the best care from the medical staff at 15 Wing in Moose Jaw.

When the Royal Canadian Air Force announced the Tutor jets were allowed back into the air on Aug. 24, it also said there would be new restrictions for the aerobatics team.

The crash in May was the second in less than eight months and came after another jet went down in Georgia last October. A report released in June said a parachute became tangled in the ejection seat, leaving the pilot with minor injuries.

Similar concerns were raised by investigators in the May crash, which remains under investigation.

Col. Ron Walker, commander of 15 Wing Moose Jaw, said last week that next season will look different for spectators, with new restrictions on the jets’ minimum flying height and speed.

(CHNL,The Canadian Press)

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 1, 2020.

The Canadian Press

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