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On May 25, the Canadian Forces Snowbirds returned home to 15 Wing Moose Jaw in Saskatchewan following the tragic accident in Kamloops, B.C., that claimed the life of the team’s public affairs officer, Capt Jennifer Casey.
To show their support for the team during this difficult time, members of the Moose Jaw community laid out inspirational messages and formed heart-shaped lines with their vehicles so the team could see them from the air as they flew over the city.
A number of driveways and sidewalks were adorned with hearts and messages, such as “Thank you for your service,” to show support for a team still in mourning after the fatal crash.
The Snowbirds were flying in Kamloops as part of Operation Inspiration – a mission designed to encourage all Canadians in the fight against COVID-19 – when the fatal crash happened.
The team flew to Casey’s hometown of Halifax, N.S., over the weekend to return her remains to her family. While there, a ceremony commenced at the airport upon the team’s arrival and a procession travelled through the city to honour Casey.
Afterwards, the Snowbirds team returned to Moose Jaw aboard a CC-130 Hercules, as their CT-114 Tutors are currently being held in Kamloops for the accident investigation.
The Hercules took its time flying over Moose Jaw, allowing the team to get a good look at the kind words and gestures from the residents of the Prairie city.
Below them, they saw the aforementioned hearts made by residents’ vehicles, including some formed by first responders — police, paramedics and firemen alike. At Central Collegiate, a local high school, the Saskatchewan Roughriders football team laid out a massive Canadian flag to show their support.
The Snowbirds are on an operational pause for the time being, as authorities work to investigate exactly what happened in Kamloops. The pilot of the aircraft, Capt Richard MacDougall, is recovering from injuries sustained in the crash.