Defence Minister offers condolences in visit to Snowbirds crash memorial in Kamloops, B.C.
Snowbirds 'inspired all Canadians at a time when we needed it,' says Harjit Sajjan in Kamloops
Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan met with first responders and members of the Canadian Forces Snowbirds in Kamloops on Tuesday, after one of its members was killed and another injured in a crash two days earlier.
Capt. Jennifer Casey, a public affairs officer with the Snowbirds, died Sunday when a CT-114 Tutor aircraft plummeted to the ground in a residential area shortly after takeoff.
The pilot of the jet, Capt. Richard MacDougall, is recovering from injuries sustained in the crash.
Sajjan spoke to reporters in front of a growing memorial of flowers and Canadian flags at the Kamloops Airport.
"I wanted to personally pass on our condolences to Jennifer Casey's family ... and also wish a speedy recovery to Capt. MacDougall," Sajjan said, noting he'd recently spoken to Casey's family.
Sajjan also thanked first responders and the people of Kamloops for their "tremendous" outpouring of support.
"[The Snowbirds] inspired all Canadians at a time when we needed it, all of Canada needed it. And having this display demonstrates to them how much we appreciate what they do for all of us."
Watch: Defence Minsiter Harjit Sajjan offers condolences
The crash happened as the Snowbirds were about to continue the Western Canada leg of a cross-country tour meant to lift people's spirits during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The cause of the crash is not yet known.
During his daily address on COVID-19 in Ottawa on Tuesday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said there will be a "proper investigation" into the incident.
He said his thoughts are with the families of Casey and MacDougall.
"This has been a very difficult few weeks for members of the Canadian Armed Forces," he said.
"As we mourn, we remember Capt. Casey as a proud Nova Scotian and an outstanding service woman, a journalist who turned her talents to the forces. She will be remembered not just for her professionalism, but for her sense of humour and for her kindness."
Watch: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau remembers Capt. Jenn Casey