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Thu, Jan 13, 2005

Snowbirds Didn't Eject After All

Investigation Contradicts Initial Statements

Contrary to initial reports from Canadian defense officials, two members of the Snowbirds precision aerial demonstration team did not eject from their mortally wounded aircraft. Instead, a report just released in Ottawa says they rode the aircraft to the ground. One pilot was killed -- the other was ejected from the aircraft by the force of the ground impact, but walked away with only minor injuries.

It happened December 10th near Mossbank, about 65 km south of the Snowbirds' home base in Moose Jaw. The two aircraft were on what the government called a "routine training flight." Capt. Miles Selby, 31, of Tsawwassen, B.C., was a two-year veteran of the Snowbirds and had flown CF-18 fighter jets during combat missions in Kosovo. Capt. Chuck Mallett, 35, of Edmonton, was reported alive after an ejection from his CT-114 Tutor.

The CBC reports an interim investigative report is due to be released next week, but will contain only factual findings. There will be no conclusions or recommendations, according to a Canadian Air Force official.

FMI: www.snowbirds.dnd.ca

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