The Canadian flag at the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 139 in Williams Lake flies at half mast, as seen Tuesday, morning to honour the victim of Sunday’s tragic Canadian Air Force Snowbird crash in Kamloops that claimed the life of pilot Capt. Jennifer Casey of Nova Scotia shortly after takeoff. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)

Editorial: Tragic loss

The death of Captain Jennifer Casey of CFS Snowbirds has been mourned across the country

Sunday’s Canadian Forces Snowbirds crash in Kamloops that claimed the life of Capt. Jennifer Casey will linger in the hearts and minds of Canadians for a long time.

Seeing video footage of the plane ascending, then suddenly nosediving toward the Brocklehurst neighbourhood and the parachuted figures ejecting from the aircraft will be hard to forget.

Hearing the audio from some of the videos taken by witnesses was reminiscent of watching the live coverage of the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster on the morning of Jan. 28, 1986 that killed all seven crew members on board.

Your heart sinks, your throat tightens, and your stomach feels queasy. Watching the Snowbirds during the best of times can cause one to suspend belief.

For those of us who have never flown a plane, it is hard to imagine even learning how to do those manoeuvres.

Read more: To shut down Snowbirds team after deadly crash would be ‘tragic:’ commander

Casey, 35, was the public affairs officer for the CF Snowbirds mission dubbed Operation Inspiration aimed at bringing tribute to those trying to flatten the curve of COVID-19.

Her death comes on the heels of the April 29 CH-148 Cyclone crash in the Ionian Sea that killed six Canadian service members.

While most of us did not know Capt. Casey before Sunday, we are seeing photographs that depict a beautiful soul who was born in Nova Scotia and worked as a journalist before joining the CFS in 2014.

In the words of commanding officer of Squadron CF Snowbirds Lt.-Col. Mike French Capt. Casey worked ‘tirelessly’ and ‘absolutely’ loved her job.

“Her loss is a serious blow not only to our team but the Canadian Armed Forces as a whole,” French said Sunday during a press conference.

French confirmed the cause of the crash is under a full investigation and can take up to a year to complete.

An online petition circulating in Kamloops is asking to change the name of Airport Road to Capt. J. Casey in her honour and several flyovers are being planned to salute her.

Read more: Williams Lake flypast planned in honour of Captain Casey and CFS Snowbirds

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– Williams Lake Tribune

Williams Lake

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