A Canadian air force jet crashed, killing one of the military personnel on board, in Kamloops, British Columbia, on Sunday, May 17, during a flyover that was intended as a tribute to Canadians, especially those on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic, authorities said.
Another military member aboard the aircraft was hurt although the injuries were not considered life-threatening, the Royal Canadian Air Force said on Twitter.
The white and red jet took off alongside another and did a wide turn once in flight, according to a video posted on Twitter. Shortly after, the plane could be seen heading downward.
It appeared that two people ejected from the plane in a plume of dark smoke before the aircraft nose-dived into a house in the Brocklehurst neighborhood of Kamloops, which is about 220 miles northeast of Vancouver.
“We can confirm that we have contacted all primary family members of those involved,” the Royal Canadian Air Force said.
The Canadian Forces Snowbirds last month announced Operation Inspiration. The mission consisted of the squadron flying over cities across Canada in a nine-jet formation with trailing white smoke. The Snowbirds were scheduled to start in Nova Scotia and work their way west throughout the week.
Squadron officials could not be immediately reached for comment Sunday night.
The planes had taken off from Kamloops Airport at 11:40 a.m. local time. Details on the second plane were not immediately available.
Witnesses said they had heard a loud boom and soon realized a plane had crashed in the area.
“No one knew what it was at the time,” said Kelly Badesso, 46, the owner of Mike’s Transmissions, an auto shop near the crash site. “I could see the smoke from the other side of town. There’s debris and stuff in people’s yards.”
The crash occurred close to the corner of Glenview Avenue and Scheiner Street, according to Jason Hewlett, a radio show host who lives in the area.
“We live 6 or 7 miles away from the crash, and we heard a really loud boom,” Hewlett said. “You could see the smoke so we decided to walk toward it. The smell was really strong. You could start to smell the burning fuel.”
Photos shared on Twitter showed what appeared to be a parachute on the roof of a house.
Members of Kamloops Fire Rescue were at the crash site within five minutes, the city said in a statement.
“Kamloops Fire Rescue is working closely with assisting agencies including the RCMP, BC Ambulance, the YKA Crash Truck, Airport Authorities, and Military representatives,” the statement said.
This article was written by Sandra E. Garcia, a reporter for The New York Times.