A Blue Angels Jet crashed on Thursday, killing its pilot in Smyrna, Tennessee. According to a US official, the pilot of the F/A-18 jet has been identified as Marine Capt. Jeff Kuss. However, there was no reported civilian casualty as a result of the crash.
The Blue Angels jet crashed at 3:01 p.m. as it was taking off for a practice flight session. The plane crashed about two miles away from the runway. “The Navy is deeply saddened by the loss of this service member,” read a statement from the Naval Air Forces, as quoted by the Tennessean. “We extend our heartfelt thoughts and prayers to the family of the pilot, and those he served with.”
According to a statement by the Navy, the service is in the process of informing the pilot’s family. The incident did not involve any of the other five Blue Angels jets.
“My thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of the Blue Angels after this tragic loss,” CNN quoted Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson as saying. “I know that the Navy and Marine Corps team is with me. We will investigate this accident fully and do all we can to prevent similar incidents in the future.”
Smyrna Fire Chief Bill Culbertson said that it was possible for his team to respond to the incident within minutes because of the units already on the flight line.
The military flight demonstration unit in Smyrna was for the Great Tennessee Airshow to be held on Saturday and Sunday. The Naval Air Forces said that the Blue Angels will not take part in it following the crash. “The Blue Angels have served to inspire and instill national pride in men, women, and children throughout our country,” said Nashville Mayor Megan Barry said in a statement. “I have ordered the Metro Courthouse and Korean Veterans Memorial Bridge to be lit yellow and blue tomorrow night in honor of the life and service of this brave pilot.”
In a separate incident on the same day, another US military performance plane, an Air Force Thunderbirds F-16, crashed in Colorado. However, the pilot of the plane was able to successfully eject from the plane after he met some unspecified difficulties as he tried to land.