KAMLOOPS, British Columbia — A Canadian acrobatic jet crashed into a British Columbia neighborhood Sunday during a flyover intended to boost morale during the pandemic, killing one crew member, seriously injuring another and setting a house on fire. Video appeared to show at least one person ejecting.
The crash left debris scattered across the neighborhood near the airport in the city of Kamloops, 260 miles northeast of Vancouver. Canada’s defense department said emergency crews were responding. The Snowbirds are Canada’s equivalent of the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds or U.S. Navy’s Blue Angels.
“It is with heavy hearts that we announce that one member of the CF Snowbirds team has died and one has sustained serious injuries,” The Royal Canadian Air Force said in a tweet.
Rose Miller lives directly across the street from where the plane hit. She had watched the Snowbirds arrive on Saturday, and she went to her front window when she heard the roar of jet engines.
Miller said she heard a loud bang and wondered whether it might be a sonic boom. Then she watched the plane smash onto the ground.
“It looked to me like it was mostly on the road, but it just exploded. It went everywhere,” she said. “In fact, I got a big, huge piece in my backyard. The cops said it was the ejection seat.”
Miller said a couple in their early 70s lives in the home. Both are OK, she said, noting that she had spoken with the two after they were evacuated to a nearby street. The woman had been in the basement while the man was behind the house.
Miller said a section of roof on a home on a nearby street has been covered up.
Video posted to Twitter in Kamloops appears to show two Snowbirds taking off from what is believed to have been Kamloops Airport. One of the aircraft subsequently climbed into the sky before rolling over and plunging to the ground. The video appears to show at least one person ejecting from the plane before it disappears behind a stand of trees and an explosion is heard.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police said the cause of the crash is under investigation.