Friends say injured CF18 pilot doing well after crash
Sonia Sunger, ctvedmonton.ca
Fellow pilots say Captain Brian Bews, a CF-18 fighter jet pilot, is doing considerably well after his plane came crashing down in Lethbridge Friday afternoon. He managed to eject at the last moment as the aircraft struck the ground and exploded, sending a massive fireball into the air.
Pilot Warren Pietsch was the first person to get to Captain Bews following the crash. He says his heart was racing as he rushed to go help his friend.
“He’s a great guy and you’re always worried, even if he’s alive, that there is something wrong,” said Pietsch. “We saw him in the ambulance and he seemed to be doing pretty good, all things considered.”
Major Jonathan Totti who also pilots a CF-18 Hornet will soon do the annual fly over the Edmonton Indy. He says he is relieved Captain Bews is going to recover.
“He’s a good friend of mine and it was good to hear that he escaped,” said Totti. “Other friends have talked to him last night and he’s doing fine.”
Bews is now listed in stable condition. He was stationed in Quebec and the CF-18 he was flying was used for airshows only. It crashed at the Lethbridge County Airport on Friday during a practice run for Saturday’s air show.
Photos taken immediately after the jet’s impact show Bews parachuting to the ground, just metres away from a huge fireball.
The cause of the crash is now under investigation. The Minister of Defence said from Calgary on Saturday that the investigators will take as long as they need.
“We want to make sure that we find the root causes of what happened and ensure that all our planes are safe, that’s what we do,” said Peter MacKay. “We have great maintainers if the air force that go over these planes with a fine-tooth comb.”
Major Totti says the CF-18 has exceptional maneuverability and says while the crash remains a mystery he isn’t surprised Captian Bews made it out to safety.
“What happened yesterday was just a demonstration that is all work the way it’s supposed to work if you’re trained properly,” said Major Totti.
The Alberta International Airshow in Lethbridge continued on schedule Saturday.
With files from Dez Melenka
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