Team member killed in Snowbirds crash remembered as proud native of Halifax

Capt. Jenn Casey, a public affairs officer, died Sunday

HALIFAX — A member of the Canadian Armed Forces killed in the crash of a Snowbirds aerobatic team jet is being remembered as a proud native of Halifax.

Capt. Jenn Casey, a public affairs officer, died Sunday when the plane crashed in a residential area of Kamloops, B.C., while on a cross-country tour meant to convey hope during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Casey, who had been with the Snowbirds since November 2018, is a former journalist who worked as a reporter, anchor and producer at NEWS 95.7 in her hometown.

Dan Ahlstrand says Casey was the first person who reached out to befriend him when he first transferred to Halifax from a sister radio station in Moncton, N.B., in 2012.

Ahlstrand says Casey was “super proud” of her community and was quick to give him the “insiders tour” and offer advice on such things as where to find the best donair — a Halifax fast food staple.

He described her as a positive person who had an infectious smile — a trait Ahlstrand says he’ll remember the most.

The jet’s pilot, Capt. Richard MacDougall of Moncton, N.B., survived the crash and is being treated for injuries the military has said are not life-threatening.

Casey joined the Canadian Forces in 2014 and was based out of Trenton, Ont., according to her Royal Canadian Air Force bio.

Before joining the Snowbirds, she spent most of 2018 with the CF-18 Demo Team, travelling around North America and the United Kingdom with the NORAD 60 jet.

Casey’s death was marked by Premier Stephen McNeil in a tweet sent early Monday.

“On behalf of the entire province, I offer my deepest condolences to Capt. Jennifer Casey’s family, friends, @CFSnowbirds team and fellow service members,” said McNeil. “Nova Scotians stand with you and send our love, thoughts and prayers.”

The crash is the latest of a series of recent tragedies to profoundly touch Nova Scotia amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nearly one month ago a gunman killed 22 people during a rampage through rural parts of the province — an event followed by the crash of a military helicopter from a Halifax-based frigate off Greece that killed six people, including three from the province.

And just last week, police in Truro, N.S., called off a six-day search for three-year old Dylan Ehler, who went missing while playing outside his grandmother’s house near a river that runs through the town.

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