Dieppe, N.B., native on road to recovery after Snowbird crash
DIEPPE, N.B. -- The pilot of the Canadian Forces Snowbirds jet that crashed in British Columbia on Sunday grew up in Dieppe, N.B., and is known in his community as an all-around stand-up guy.
"(He's a) fine young guy for sure," said Dieppe Mayor Yvon Lapierre. "Very bright, very alert."
Capt. Richard MacDougall is now in hospital with non-life threatening injuries after his Snowbird jet crashed shortly after takeoff in Kamloops, B.C. After ejecting, MacDougall landed on the roof of a home -- not far from the crash site.
Capt. Jenn Casey of Halifax, who was also in the Tutor jet, died in the crash.
MacDougall's former air cadet instructor says the 34-year-old has been passionate about the air force from a young age.
"My heart sank," Julie Schofield Simard said about learning MacDougall was involved in the crash.
"Richard was goal-oriented even back in 1998 when he was 12 years old. We knew from the start that whatever Richard put his mind to, he was going to achieve it. And his success so far is just proof of that."
MacDougall recently flew over his hometown as part of the Snowbirds' cross-country tour -- a special moment for his family and friends in Dieppe.
"I think people were very proud of him, even thinking about doing that, on the day of his mom's birthday. I mean, you can't write that script," Lapierre said.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau sent his well wishes Tuesday to MacDougall, who is expected to recover.
"My thoughts and the thoughts of all Canadians are with the families of Capt. Casey, Capt. MacDougall, and the entire Snowbirds team," said Trudeau. "This has been a very difficult few weeks for members of the Canadian Armed Forces."
At home, there are messages of healing from the community residents of Dieppe, as well as many Canadians across the country, who are now wishing MacDougall a speedy recovery.
"Certainly strength," said Schofield Simard. "I know he's going to need that as he recovers both from this physically and the emotional toll that it will have. I wish that he knows that we're all behind him."