A Canadian Forces Snowbirds flight plane has crashed in Kamloops, B.C., while on cross-country tour.
In a tweet Sunday afternoon, the Royal Canadian Air Force confirmed that one of the Snowbirds aircraft crashed, adding that their priority “is determining the status of our personnel and supporting emergency personnel.”
The Department of National Defence issued a similar statement confirming the crash and saying more information would be made available when appropriate.
Federal Minister of Defence Harjit Sajjan said on Twitter that he was “deeply saddened” by the news of the crash, and offered his thanks to local first responders.
Kamloops Airport confirmed it was responding to the crash in a tweet. BC Emergency Health Services said multiple paramedics responded to the scene and one person was transported to hospital. EHS could not provide any information about that patient’s condition.There is no official word on the condition of the pilot.
CTV News Vancouver Island has confirmed with witnesses at the scene that the crash happened just before noon.
“I heard these two huge bangs and all of a sudden up in the sky there was a dark black circle of smoke,” said Kerri Turatus.
She was driving nearby and drove to Glenview Road, where the crash happened.
“It was red and white and you could distinguish on the one wing and the backside, I took a picture of it, being the red and white Snowbirds,” said Turatus.
Another witness tells CTV News he was in his living room and heard the Snowbirds take off.
“One of the snowbirds flying a little lower than expected did a barrel roll over Crestline,” said Mike Trafford. “There was a flash and a spark shortly after the barrel role and I saw the pilot eject and the plane basically took a nosedive straight into the ground or in this case, what I’ve heard, straight into a house.”
“The first thing I thought was, ‘This isn’t right.’ And it was almost a split second between seeing the pilot eject and the plane go straight down.”
The Snowbirds flew into British Columbia for their western leg of Operation Inspiration and were heading to Vancouver Island.
“We know some areas are starting to clear up, however transit through some of the mountain passes have very low cloud cover which is unsafe for flying nine jets,” reads a tweet from the group posted earlier Sunday morning.
The Snowbirds were expected to fly through the Okanagan Valley on Saturday, but said they were going to preposition to Comox and start working their way west.
This is a developing story and we will update once more information is available.
With files from CTV News Vancouver’s Ian Holliday and Jen St. Denis, and CTVNews.ca’s Adam Ward