snowbirds crash

A bird may have caused the Snowbirds plane crash that killed Captain Jennifer Casey

Investigators with the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) have revealed that "environmental factors" were likely behind the tragic crash of a CF Snowbirds plane in Kamloops, B.C. on May 17.

Specifically, a preliminary report on what happened to aircraft CT114161 and its two occupants states that the investigation is now focusing on a "birdstrike," as well as the performance of the plane's escape system.

"A detailed analysis of video footage recovered for the investigation revealed one bird in very close proximity to the aircraft right engine intake during the critical phase of take-off," reads a release from the RCAF issued Monday morning.

One photo accompanying the release shows the bird highlighted by a red circle. An additional photo shows a portion of the destroyed aircraft on a residential lawn.

snowbirds crash

The Snowbirds aircraft crashed into a house in Kamloops, B.C., setting the residence on fire and scattering debris across the lawn. Two elderly residents inside escaped without injury. Image via RCAF.

"The Snowbirds air demonstration team was scheduled to depart Kamloops, B.C., to reposition to Comox, B.C., as part of Operation Inspiration," reads the preliminary report, explaining the operation as a morale-boosting exercise in support of Canada's frontline workers.

"After take-off, aircraft CT114161 was observed gaining altitude and departing the formation. Shortly thereafter, the aircraft initiated a left turn, followed shortly by an abrupt steep nose low attitude. Both occupants subsequently ejected from the aircraft."

The aircraft's pilot, Captain Richard MacDougall, was seriously injured as a result of the incident but is expected to make a full recovery.

Captain Jennifer Casey, the team's public affairs officer, sustained fatal injuries. The 35-year-old Nova Scotia native and former radio journalist was honoured on May 24 with a motorcade and memorial ceremony at Halifax International Airport.

Lead photo by


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