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Jul 24, 2010 12:38 PM by Gerald Gauthier (Lethbridge Herald)

Fighter jet crashes in Lethbridge, pilot ejects safely

A CF-18 fighter jet crashed on Friday in Lethbridge as it prepared for an airshow in Alberta, but the pilot managed to eject before the plane slammed into the ground.

Despite the crash at the Lethbridge airport, the Alberta International AirShow will go ahead as planned this weekend.

Canadian Air Force pilot Captain Brian Bews ejected safely from his CF-18 fighter jet just moments before it crashed during a practice flight on the eve of the annual event.

Bews escaped serious injury in the crash, which occurred during the noon-hour while he was attempting a slow-speed pass over the airport.

After ejecting, he narrowly missed being hit by the plane as it plunged to the ground and exploded in flames near the junction of two runways, according to witnesses.

The Department of National Defence is handling the investigation into the cause of the crash. Transport Canada officials also arrived Friday to monitor the situation but are leaving the investigation in the hands of the military.

“We planned for this. We know this kind of thing can happen. The military said they would support us, and we thought we couldn’t let our community down,” said Kathy Wallocha, past president of the air show.

Click here to read more at the Lethbridge Herald.

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