Skip to comments.Snowbird Jet Crashes in Ontario
Posted on 08/24/2005 6:52:53 PM PDT by NorthOf45
Snowbird jet crashes in Ont.
August 24, 2005
THUNDER BAY, Ont. (CP) -- A jet from the storied Snowbirds aerobatics squadron fell from the sky Wednesday while making its way to an air show in this northern Ontario city, crashing in a rural field just seconds after its pilot ejected safely.
The Department of National Defence said Capt. Andy Mackay, Snowbird 8, was treated in hospital for undisclosed injuries and released.
"Our main focus at the moment is Capt. Andy Mackay's well-being," said Maj. Ian McLean, commanding officer of Canadian Forces Snowbirds.
Witness accounts of the crash suggest the plane plummeted suddenly.
"I saw one of the planes immediately turn towards the ground and go at a very high speed directly at the ground and disappear," witness Scott Dougall told CKPR radio in Thunder Bay.
"After that I saw a puff of smoke come up from the ground, and I also saw a parachute at about 5,000, 6,000 feet in the air. It looked like somebody had ejected and the plane crashed into the ground."
An organizer for the air show, called Thunder in the Air, said the plane crashed just before the show was to start at 5:30 p.m. ET. The event was cancelled just 10 minutes later when it was announced that a plane had crashed.
Local resident Dennis Trevisanutto Jr., who was standing on the deck of his home when he saw the crash, said he rescued the pilot after he saw the parachute descending.
"I was standing on the deck and I saw the plane going over and we heard ... a loud explosion," he told Thunder Bay radio station CJUK.
"And I looked out and I could see him parachuting down into the woods. So I thought I'd take a ride over there and see if I could find him or pick him up.... (I) ended up wandering around in the bush there and I spotted him, and he seemed to be OK."
"When I first saw him I asked if he was OK, and he said yes and said his engines failed."
Trevisanutto drove Mackay, 39, of Orleans, Ont., to Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre.
The air show had been scheduled to take place at Marina Park, by the city's downtown harbour on the northern shore of Lake Superior.
A concert that had been scheduled to follow the event went on as planned.
The Snowbirds are next scheduled to perform in St. Catharines, Ont., on Saturday and Sunday, but it was not immediately known if the shows would be cancelled.
They are also slated to fly at the Canadian International Air Show in Toronto on Labour Day weekend.
The accident is certain to prompt renewed concerns about both the safety and the value of the internationally renowned Snowbirds, who are marking their 35th anniversary this year.
Defence Minister Bill Graham wouldn't say whether Wednesday's crash will endanger the future of program.
"Until we know exactly what happened, it's very difficult to evaluate the risk factors that was in there," he said from Ottawa.
"It's too early to give the cause. We're still trying to ascertain that."
The jets the Snowbirds fly, Canadair CT-114 Tutors, are more than 30 years old. The last one came off the assembly line in 1966 -- before most of the pilots were born.
However, the pilots have defended the program, saying the aircraft are safe and the shows they put on are part of the Canadian cultural fabric.
The last time there was a crash during an air show in Canada was on July 10 in Moose Jaw, Sask., when two American stunt pilots died after their biplanes collided before 20,000 horrified spectators.
The last crash of a Snowbird occurred on Dec. 10, 2004, when Capt. Miles Selby died in a fiery collision with colleague Capt. Chuck Mallet during a training session just south of their Moose Jaw home base. Mallet survived the accident.
The team is comprised of Canadian Forces pilots.
"Heart throbs don't count for much for a country with a very small defense budget."
I know, as I meantioned the F18, that came to mind. Ya gotta do with what you got. I am sure you two posters are damn proud of your military. I know you wish it was much more then the socialist raped down, but you have a proud history stand tall.
Sorry to sound gross, but that give me a real hardon! High performance military jets are prettier then pretty women!
Well maybe I better be carefull there!
Might not be the CF-18, but better than the Four-Door. ;-)
" Might not be the CF-18, but better than the Four-Door. ;-)"
I'm sure they can smoke when not going to vertical.
Oh, I got it. CF 155 Hawk.
Out of gas?
"Cool planes though."
Yes they are definetly cool looking aircraft.
Do the Blue Angels perform a 9 plane formation?
Thank you for your service Marine. How many years?
Assume you where stationed at Cherry Point.