Barriere resident Wanda Nystoruk says she was very shocked to hear that Captain Jennifer Casey had died in a crash when the Snowbird jet she was in crashed shortly after it took off from Kamloops Airport on Sunday, May, 17. The pilot, Captain Rich MacDougall survived, but is still in Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops with serious but none life threatening injuries.
“I have always been a huge fan of the Canadian Forces Snowbirds,” said Nystoruk, “Ever since the first time I saw them long ago when they did a practice show over Shuswap Lake – they were not only impressive, but amazing as well. I was so shocked when I heard about the crash in Kamloops.”
She tells that while she was in Kamloops last Friday she heard about the fence that surrounds the airport in Kamloops becoming a memorial to the fallen Snowbird and Captain Casey.
“When I heard about the memorial fence being covered with hearts, signs, and flags, I just knew I had to get a Canadian flag and go there,” said Nystoruk, “Before I left the city I wanted to show my respects, so I picked up my granddaughter Emillie, and we drove out to the airport. We went to honour the memory of Captain Jenn Casey and to wish recovery to Captain Richard MacDougall, and to show our support to the pilots, their family and crews.”
Nystoruk says she was not prepared for what they saw as they approached the airport.
“We were totally amazed. As we got closer we could see the long line of flags, flowers and signs that people had hung on the fence, and we could also see the Snowbirds’ planes in the background. “
She tells that with Emillie’s help they hung a large Canadian flag and a smaller one on the fence, and then they walked along the newly created memorial fence and read some of the messages and words that people had place there.
“It was such a moving sight, said Nystoruk, noting there were a few other people there as well and they were also placing messages on the fence.
“The Snowbirds were doing this Canada wide ‘Operation Inspiration’ to give us all hope during the pandemic,” said Nystoruk, “And now we see this incredible outpouring of compassion for them. It was quite a sight.”