Early report says birdstrike could have caused fatal Snowbird crash

Jun 1 2020, 10:46 am

A preliminary report from the Royal Canadian Airforce says the fatal Snowbird crash in Kamloops last month could have been caused by a bird hitting one of the engines.

Investigators analyzed video footage of the May 17 crash, and saw a bird flying very close to the plane’s right engine during a “critical phase of takeoff,” the report says.

Snowbird bird strike

The bird near the plane’s engine is circled in red. (Royal Canadian Airforce)

The plane was taking off in Kamloops, BC as part of Operation Inspiration, a cross-country tour to lift spirits during the pandemic. The plane turned left while taking off and then did a nose dive, crashing in the yard of a Kamloops home.

Both the pilot and passenger ejected from the aircraft, but only one survived. Captain Jenn Casey was killed in the crash. She was the Snowbird’s public affairs officer, and used to work as a journalist in Halifax.

The other member, Captain Richard MacDougall, suffered serious but non-life-threatening injures.

Going forward, the crash investigation will focus on the birdstrike and the escape system’s performance.

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