A jet from the Canadian air force’s Snowbirds exhibition team has crashed and burst into flames in the front yard of a house in the British Columbia city of Kamloops, killing a crew member.
The plane had two crew members aboard, and the pilot reportedly ejected before it crashed.
“One member of the Canadian Forces’ Snowbirds team has died and one has sustained serious injuries,” the armed forces said on Twitter.
The Royal Canadian Air Force confirmed on Twitter that a jet from its Snowbirds team had crashed near the city, but gave no details. The planes had been on a nationwide tour to raise spirits during the coronavirus outbreak.
Kamloops, which has a population of about 90,000, is about 320 kilometres north-east of Vancouver.
The Canadian Department of National Defence released a statement about what it called “a developing situation”.
“Our No.1 priority at this time is determining the status of our personnel, the community and supporting emergency personnel,” it said.
“We are thankful for the ongoing support of emergency crews, including the Kamloops Airport’s aircraft rescue fleet, who are responding to the incident.”
Video shot by a witness showed two of the team’s Canadair Tutor single-engine jets taking off. One of the planes reared up almost immediately before plunging to the ground, exploding just after the pilot ejected.
Witness Annette Schonewille told the CBC she saw the jet fall from the sky.
“The one plane continued and the other one … was a ball of fire,” she said.
“No noise, it was strange, and then the plane just did a cartwheel and fell right out of the sky. Just boom, straight down, and then a burst of black, black smoke.”
A photo posted by Kamloops television station CFJC showed at least one house on fire in the Brocklehurst area of Kamloops.
Federal Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan said in a tweet he was deeply saddened by the news.
The crash was the second recent accident involving the Snowbirds. One of the team’s jets fell into an unpopulated area in October 2019 before a show in Atlanta, after the pilot ejected.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police did not immediately respond to requests for more details about the incident.