British Columbia

Memorial honouring Snowbirds in Kamloops, B.C., to be taken down and preserved

The memorial set up by Kamloops, B.C., residents honouring the victims of a fatal Snowbirds plane crash in the city on the Victoria Day weekend will be taken down Friday. 

Items to be distributed among Snowbirds, Capt. Jenn Casey’s family and Capt. Richard MacDougall

Kamloops residents have been adding to a memorial set up for the Canadian Forces Snowbirds since one of its jets crashed in the city on May 17. (Courtney Dickson/CBC)

The memorial set up by Kamloops, B.C., residents honouring the victims of a fatal Snowbirds plane crash in the city on the Victoria Day long weekend will be taken down Friday. 

Capt. Jenn Casey was killed May 17 when the jet she was travelling in went down shortly after take off from the Kamloops airport. Capt. Richard MacDougall, who was also in the plane but managed to successfully eject, was sent to hospital with injuries but is now home in Moose Jaw, Sask., and is expected to make a full recovery.

The Snowbirds were in Kamloops as part of a cross-country tour called Operation Inspiration, meant to salute Canadians amid the COVID-19 pandemic. 

After the crash, hundreds of flowers, hearts, art and messages of condolences were attached to the fence along the airport as residents turned out to pay their respects to Casey, MacDougall and the Snowbirds. 

Condolences and messages of support line the fence along the Kamloops Airport, following a fatal Canadian Forces Snowbirds crash on May 17 that killed Capt. Jenn Casey. (Courtney Dickson/CBC)

The City of Kamloops, the Kamloops Airport and Rocky Mountain Rangers will work collaboratively to remove the memorial. Eventually, items will be divided up among the Canadian Forces Snowbirds, Casey's family and MacDougall.

"The idea had been floated around last week to try to preserve it," Lt. Alexandra Hejduk, public affairs officer with 19 Wing Comox, told Daybreak Kamloops host Shelley Joyce. 

Kamloops residents have until Friday to visit the memorial set up by the airport to honour Capt. Jenn Casey and Capt. Richard MacDougall. (Courtney Dickson/CBC)

"We did want to have that memorial up for as long as possible but then because of the inclement weather, if we want to preserve anything we'll have to take it down."

Rain has already damaged parts of the memorial. 

The Canadian Forces Snowbirds jets remain grounded at the Kamloops airport. (Courtney Dickson/CBC)

Hejduk visited the memorial when she was in Kamloops last week following the crash and was surprised by the outpouring of support from the community.

"To see that come so spontaneously together in such an organic way was astounding," she said.

"There are so many heartfelt messages and messages of support ... and we wanted to try to capture that and preserve it going forward and so that it is there for all time."

With files from Daybreak Kamloops

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