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Kamloops Snowbird crash witness claims Capt. Jennifer Casey’s parachute was undeployed

Investigators start searching Snowbird crash site in Kamloops

A Kamloops father who lives in the neighbourhood where Capt. Jennifer Casey landed after ejecting from the Snowbird CT-114 Tutor that crashed on Sunday suggests she fell to her death without a parachute.

“I saw the parachute and everything on the one roof where the pilot landed,” Brian Hunter told Global News on Monday morning as Canadian military investigators took over the crash scene near his house. “It was over here (pointing over his house) where the other pilot landed. As far as I knew, [Capt. Casey’s] parachute didn’t open.”

“It’s very unfortunate. I feel for the family,”

Kamloops father describes chaos in neighbourhood after Snowbird plane crash
Kamloops father describes chaos in neighbourhood after Snowbird plane crash

“It’s all hard to take in,” Hunter said. “I had a hard time sleeping. If that plane were another second in the air it could have been my front yard.”

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The Canadian Department of National Defence would not confirm if Cpt. Casey’s parachute was not deployed.

“This is not something we can confirm at this time, as it may be part of the Flight Safety Investigation,” it said by email.

READ MORE: Kelowna, B.C., pilot organizes flyover honouring Snowbirds after member dies in crash

When Hunter realized a plane had crashed near his home, he, like other parents in the neighbourhood, said they took stock of their children.

“I was trying to find my wife to grab our boy and go into the backyard in case the plane blew up,” he said. “Because who knows how far that could go?”

Video appears to show fiery aftermath of CF Snowbird jet crash in Kamloops, B.C.
Video appears to show fiery aftermath of CF Snowbird jet crash in Kamloops, B.C.

Stephan Bouffard thought the same of his infant and five-year-old sons: “Get the kids out of the house.”

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“I ran back inside, grabbed the boys, ran out there and saw the carnage over there,” Bouffard said as he pointed to his neighbours house where the Snowbird plane crashed.

Stephan Bouffard describes the sound of Snowbird plane crashing into neighbours home on May 17, and talks about the pandemonium that ensued.
Stephan Bouffard describes the sound of Snowbird plane crashing into neighbours home on May 17, and talks about the pandemonium that ensued.

“It was just a huge cloud of black and white smoke that was piling up over there,” Bouffard said.

READ MORE: Who was CF Snowbirds member killed in crash? Capt. Jenn Casey remembered as a ‘beautiful person’

Between the pandemonium and craziness he was witnessing, Bouffard said he ran into his neighbour, whose house was on fire.

“He told me at that point and time, he was actually in the room right next door to the garage where the plane hit when he was on the computer,” Bouffard recounts of his conversation with the Kamloops senior. “I asked him, ‘I’m surprised you didn’t have a heart attack with all that went down.'”

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The Brocklehurst neighbourhood where the plane and pilots crashed into is less than a kilometre from the Kamloops airport, directly in the path of the runway.

The plane crashed about 200 metres from Bouffard’s backyard and Capt. Richard MacDougall landed onto the roof of a home down the road.

READ MORE: CF Snowbirds team member killed in crash remembered as ‘sunshine’: Alberta airshow producer

Capt. Casey landed in a nearby backyard, he said.

“My heart goes out to her family,” Bouffard said. “I’m just glad that nobody else was injured in the whole aftermath.”

The plane remains in pieces on Glenview Avenue as investigators look for answers to why the Snowbird crashed, leaving one member of the team dead.