Capt. Jenn Casey is being remembered as a keen storyteller with a huge smile that could light up a room.
The public affairs officer for the Canadian Forces Snowbirds was killed Sunday when the plane she was in crashed in Kamloops, B.C. The other occupant, pilot Capt. Richard MacDougall, was seriously injured.
The aircraft went down in a residential neighbourhood shortly after takeoff. The incident is under investigation.
Casey worked as a broadcast radio reporter and host in Halifax and Belleville Ont. before joining the Royal Canadian Air Force in 2014. She was assigned to the Snowbirds in 2018, touring with the group, and running their social media and communications.
People who knew Casey remember her as a tenacious journalist and dedicated member of the Snowbirds squadron.
During news conference Monday, Snowbirds commanding officer Mike French said the crew was “deeply saddened” by her loss and was mourning privately.
“She absolutely loved this job,” he said.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau released a statement Sunday acknowledging the crash.
“Sophie and I join all Canadians in offering our heartfelt condolences to the family and loved ones of Captain Jennifer Casey. All Canadians are with you during this difficult time,” the prime minister wrote.
Stephen McNeil, the premier of Casey’s home province of Nova Scotia shared a tribute on Twitter.
“On behalf of the entire province, I offer my deepest condolences to Capt. Jennifer Casey’s family, friends, @CFSnowbirds team and fellow service members. Nova Scotians stand with you and send our love, thoughts and prayers,” he wrote.
By late Sunday night, a makeshift memorial to Casey had sprung up on the fence surrounding the Kamloops airfield.
The Snowbirds were touring across Canada for a series of flyovers to spread joy in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic. The mission was dubbed Operation Inspiration.
That tour and the rest of the Snowbirds have been grounded indefinitely.