A Canadian Air Force Snowbirds Canadair CT-114 Tutor aircraft crashed near Kamloops, British Columbia, on Sunday, according to the Canadian Department of National Defence. The pilot ejected safely.
The Royal Canadian Air Force said in a statement that the incident occurred in Kamloops, northeast of Vancouver. It wasn’t immediately clear if anyone was injured or killed in the crash or what caused it.
Just after 11:30 a.m., two jets took off from Kamloops Airport, bound for Kelowna as part of Operation Inspiration. One jet was seen in video footage turning upward seconds after take-off and doubling back before crashing in an area near Glenview Avenue.
The footage also shows two specks ejecting from the jet, though no parachute could be seen deployed. Other images posted online also show the burning wreckage of the plane on the lawn of a home.
The flight was part of “Operation Inspiration,” a nationwide mission aimed at saluting first responders and other essential workers. The Snowbirds are a military acrobatics squadron based in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan.
A video that appeared to capture the crash showed two jets taking off and flying side by side for a few seconds. One of them veers into the sky and seconds later is seen spiraling toward the ground.
Operation Inspiration started in Nova Scotia earlier this month and features the team’s signature nine-jet formation. It was aimed at boosting morale as Canadians continue to struggle with the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Snowbirds perform air shows for the Canadian public, similar to the US Navy’s Blue Angels.
The team — comprising members of the Canadian Armed Forces and National Defence Public Service Employees — kicked off a cross-country tour May 2 to honor “Canadians doing their part to fight the spread of Covid-19,” according to a statement on its website.