By Associated Press - Monday, June 1, 2020

TORONTO (AP) - Canada’s Air Force said Monday it’s focusing on a bird strike as the likely reason a Snowbird aerobatic plane crashed in British Columbia last month.

The Snowbirds had been in the midst of a cross-country tour aimed at boosting morale during the COVID-19 pandemic when one of the planes crashed after takeoff, killing the spokesperson for the team and injuring the pilot.

A preliminary investigation report posted by The Royal Canadian Air Force said video footage of the plane just before the crash showed a bird very close to the plane’s right engine intake “during the critical phase of take-off.”

The crash near Kamloops killed Air Force Capt. Jenn Casey, a public-affairs officer riding as a passenger, and seriously injured the pilot. Though the plane crashed in a populated area, nobody on the ground was badly injured.

The report said the investigation will continue to probe the possibility of a bird strike and whether the Tutor jet’s escape devices worked properly.

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