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article imageBird may have caused Canada air force aerobatics plane to crash

By AFP     Jun 1, 2020 in World

A bird may have caused a plane from an elite Canadian air force aerobatics team to crash, resulting in the death of one team member and injury to another, the defence department said Monday.

The aircraft -- part of the team known as the Snowbirds -- crashed into the front yard of a house in British Columbia shortly after taking off from Kamloops Airport late morning on May 18.

In a preliminary report, the Department of National Defence's Airworthiness Investigative Authority said it had obtained video footage that revealed "one bird in very close proximity to the aircraft right engine intake during the critical post take-off phase.

"The flight safety investigation will focus on environmental factors (the bird strike) and the performance of the escape system," the report said.

The plane was scheduled to fly over British Columbia as part of a tour dubbed "Operation Inspiration," launched in early May to pay tribute to Canadians' efforts to battle the coronavirus pandemic.

The report showed that the CT-114 plane had gained altitude, before abruptly leaving the Snowbirds' formation and entering a nose-down spin.

Both passengers were able to eject from the plane but were injured upon landing. Captain Jenn Casey, 35, a Public Affairs Officer with the Air Force, died as a result of her injuries.

"The most difficult work of an investigation begins as we peel back the layers to understand why and how this happened," said Colonel John Alexander, the director of flight safety and the Airworthiness Investigative Authority.

"We are laser-focused to understanding everything we can about the accident so we can recommend effective preventative measures," he said.

The Snowbirds' signature nine-jet formation, with trailing white smoke, began its tour in Nova Scotia and was to perform aerial displays over cities from the Atlantic to the Pacific oceans, at elevations as low as 500 feet (150 meters).

The Snowbirds' signature nine-jet formation, with trailing white smoke, began its tour in Nova Scotia and was to perform aerial displays over cities from the Atlantic to the Pacific oceans, at elevations as low as 500 feet (150 meters).

The team has temporarily suspended flights since the crash.

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