May 17 (UPI) -- One member of the Canadian Armed Forces was killed and another was seriously injured when a military aerobatic aircraft crashed Sunday in British Columbia.
"It is with heavy hearts that we announce that one member of the CF Snowbirds team has died and one has sustained serious injuries," the Royal Canadian Air Force tweeted. "We can confirm that we have contacted all primary family members of those involved."
The surviving service member did not sustain life-threatening injuries, it added.
Authorities received reports at about 11:42 a.m., PDT, that a Snowbird aircraft had crashed in a residential area of Kamloops, about 217 miles northeast of Vancouver, and dispatched emergency crews to the scene, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police said in a statement. Graphic video of the crash online shows puffs of black smoke spurt from the plane as it performs a low aerobatic maneuver before diving into the ground.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he would contact Defense Minister Harjit Sajjan and the Canada Forces Snowbirds about the crash, stating in a tweet that "my thoughts are with the brave members of the [Royal Canadian Armed Forces]."
The nine-jet Snowbirds team was performing Operation Inspiration, a nationwide tour that began early May to "salute Canadians doing their part to fight the spread of COVID-19," when the crash occurred, the Royal Canadian Air Force said in a statement.
The jets arrived in the western Canadian town Saturday to perform a flyover on Sunday but have since been grounded, Kamloops Mayor Ken Christian told reporters, describing Kamloops as a "military town."
"This accident today really shakes us to our core but we will respond to it in every way that we can to support the Canadian military as well as the women and men in service," he said.
One home was significantly damaged by fire and a person was injured at a second residence due to the crash, he said, adding, that 14 personnel and "five pieces of apparatus" from the local fire department responded to more than 30 calls made about the crash to dispatch.
The military has sent an investigation team to the site, he said.
"This was a tragic scene that had a huge response from emergency vehicles, not something you would expect in the middle of May on a long weekend in Kamloops," Christian said.