Snowbirds are grounded for now but they'll fly again says Canada's Defence Minister
The CF Snowbirds will fly again despite the tragic accident that claimed the life of Captain Jennifer Casey on Sunday, according to Canada's Defence Minister.
Speaking with the Toronto Star, Minister Harjit Sajjan said that the government will support the long-term future of the aerobatics team, who have operated in some capacity since World War II.
"I am absolutely committed to making sure that the Snowbird program continues because it's a mission that has inspired so many Canadians and not just to become pilots or join the military," Sajjan told the Star.
"When a kid looks up at the Snowbirds, it's about saying 'wow, I too can do something bigger.' That's the inspiration they provide."
A quick rest at home in Moose Jaw & we are off again! We will fly to the West Coast via northern Alberta, returning through southern Alberta. It's been amazing to put smiles on so many faces. For those we didn’t make it to, we hope to see you soon! #opinspiration #cfsnowbirds pic.twitter.com/w7bQbtr18N— CF Snowbirds (@CFSnowbirds) May 14, 2020
In Sunday's tragedy, a Snowbird jet flown by Captain Richard MacDougall crashed into a residential neighbourhood after taking off from the airport in Kamloops, B.C.
Captain Jennifer Casey, the team's Public Affairs Officer, was killed in the accident. MacDougall was taken to the hospital with serious injuries, although the CF Snowbirds have confirmed that the injuries are thankfully not considered to be life-threatening.
The investigation into the cause of the crash is ongoing.
Thank you to everyone who has reached out to remember Capt Jenn Casey, our 2018 PAO and Narrator. We join her family and friends, @CFSnowbirds, @RCAF_ARC and all of Canada in mourning this devastating loss. The world lost a very bright light. Rest easy Jenn, #wehavethewatch now pic.twitter.com/ykVZwKlRW8— CF-18 Demo Team (@CF18Demo) May 21, 2020
The Snowbirds have over 70 years of history; they formed in 1942 under the name No.431 (Bomber) Squadron, flying on bombing and mine-laying operations during the war.
In the 1970s, the squadron permanently became part of the Canadian Forces, reforming as an air demonstration squadron in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, where their home base remains today.
OPERATION INSPIRATION— Tom Podolec Aviation (@TomPodolec) May 10, 2020
Canadian Forces Snowbirds flyover Toronto Pearson Fire as they honour first responders and frontline workers in the battle against #COVID19. #opinspiration #cfsnowbirds #toronto pic.twitter.com/SpnA5bvHkT
On Monday, Lieutenant-Colonel Mike French, commanding officer of the Snowbirds, also expressed his hope that the squadron will continue to fly in future.
"It's a mission that I can get behind, it's a mission I believe in and it’s a mission that I believe is important," he said. "So I certainly hope our mission will continue."
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