Chronic seatbelt problem caused Snowbird crash

A faulty seatbelt left unrepaired for several years and the failure of the pilot to ensure that he was strapped in properly led to the fatal crash of a Snowbird jet two years ago, says the final report on the May 2007 crash.

MOOSE JAW, Sask. — A faulty seatbelt left unrepaired for several years and the failure of the pilot to ensure that he was strapped in properly led to the fatal crash of a Snowbird jet two years ago, says the final report on the May 2007 crash.

But the pilot’s father is raising questions about whether the air force should have done more about the seatbelt problem that contributed to his son’s death.

Capt. Shawn McCaughey’s lap belt came undone while he was flying upside down during a practice flight prior to an air show in Montana, said the report released Monday.

McCaughey fell out of his seat and lost control of the plane, which plummeted to the ground.

The report says the seatbelt problem had been an issue for several years, but was never properly addressed.

McCaughey’s father, Ken, said he didn’t believe his son was to blame for the fatal crash. He said his son had long voiced concerns about the seatbelt issue and followed the procedure he was shown to strap in properly.

“They should have fixed the problem prior to the crash so Shawn would have been alive again today,” he said.

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