Ben Miljure, Multi-Skilled Journalist, CTV News Vancouver | Monday, May 17, 2021
VANCOUVER — Monday marks a solemn anniversary in Kamloops, B.C., where it has been one year since a fatal crash claimed the life of Snowbirds team member Capt. Jennifer Casey.
An investigation into the May 17, 2020, crash revealed a small bird flew into the plane’s engine shortly after takeoff from Fulton Field at the Kamloops airport, causing it to lose power.
The pilot gave the order to eject, but the plane was at too low of an altitude for Casey to safely deploy her parachute.
In Kamloops Monday morning, Capt. Scott Boyd, Casey’s partner and also a Snowbirds team member, joined Mayor Ken Christian for an announcement about a permanent memorial the city plans to create to honour Casey.
“Today is a day to remember and a day to really celebrate a great Canadian,” said Christian.
He went on to say the City of Kamloops will create a series of curated memorials at Fulton Field Park that will pay tribute to Casey and the entire Snowbirds team.
It’s being called an interpretive park and will feature storyboards highlighting the history of Fulton Field, the Snowbirds and Casey’s life.
“This has been the longest year of my life but it also feels like just yesterday the accident took place that took the life of Jenn, my best friend,” said Boyd. “It’s been absolutely incredible, the kindness and compassion and support that Kamloops has shown us.”
At the time of the crash, the acrobatic aviation team was on a cross-country mission called Operation Inspiration, which was intended to boost morale and bring joy to Canadians amidst the uncertainty of the pandemic.
In an interview after Casey’s death, her family told CTV News she was “supporting an important mission that seemed to be designed for her.”
Casey was the team’s public affairs officer.
The Snowbirds were grounded for three months following the fatal crash but have since returned to the skies and have announced plans for another Operation Inspiration tour that will see the team perform at locations across Canada and the United States beginning in June.
One year ago, we suffered a loss that was profoundly felt across Canada, and particularly within the RCAF. Today we send our thoughts to Captain Jenn Casey’s family, colleagues and friends. Her passion to spread joy to others during difficult times will be her legacy. pic.twitter.com/ulkQAO356d— Royal Canadian Air Force (@RCAF_ARC) May 17, 2021