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Probe begins into Snowbirds crash

Safety investigators with Canada's military in Fort St. John looking into a possible cause

Safety investigators from the Canadian military arrived in Fort St. John over the weekend after the crash of a Canadian Snowbirds jet last week at the North Peace Regional Airport.

“I can confirm the RCAF flight safety investigation team is currently on the ground as well as a recovery team from the air force in order to continue on with that investigation and assist with the safe recovery of the aircraft,” said Major Trevor Reid to Alaska Highway News Monday.

A C-17 Globemaster military transport plane could be seen at the airport Saturday – Reid confirming it was to bring in investigators and the equipment needed to carry out their investigation.

The probe follows what officials described as the “hard landing” of a CT-114 Tutor, a jet used as part of the Fort St. John International Airshow July 30 and 31.

"The sole occupant, the pilot, did not suffer any physical injuries but is being medically assessed as per RCAF policies," said Reid on August 2.

“The pilot is in good spirits,” he added in an update on Monday.

The downed plane was the second-to-last Snowbird to leave the airport when it crashed just after 12 noon last Tuesday.

A witness in the area reported hearing what sounded like a plane experiencing engine trouble.

“I then saw a fireball as it hit the ground,” he said.

Most of the Snowbirds team had already flown to Penticton for a scheduled performance the next night, however, both that show and an appearance in Abbotsford this past weekend were eventually cancelled. The last remaining Snowbird aircraft set to leave for Penticton last week remains grounded in Fort St. John.

As of Monday morning, all shows had been called off indefinitely while a cause to the accident is looked in to.

“Our focus right now is squarely on the investigation,” said Reid when asked about the status of future shows.

— with files from Matt Preprost

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