POLITICS

Blue Angels Pilot Killed After Jet Crashes In Tennessee

The crash occurred during a practice run for a performance.

Update:

U.S. Marine Capt. Jeff Kuss crashed just after take-off Thursday while practicing for an upcoming Blue Angels show, according to a Navy press release. He wasn’t able to eject, but he was hailed as a hero for preventing further casualties.

An article posted Friday contains more information about Kuss and the incident.

The earlier article, below, initially identified him as a U.S. Navy pilot and has been changed.

Previously:

Blue Angels pilot was killed Thursday when his F/A-18 jet crashed outside Nashville, Tennessee, where the demonstration squadron was practicing for an upcoming show.

"The pilot of the jet was taking off to start the afternoon practice when the mishap occurred," the U.S. Navy said in a statement. 

The crash occurred around 3 p.m. local time and roughly 2 miles from the Smyrna, Tennessee Airport, according to the Navy. The other five Blue Angel jets were not involved and landed safely. 

“My thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of the Blue Angels after this tragic loss," Admiral John Richardson, chief of Naval Operations, said in a Facebook post. "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."

Cmdr. Jeannie Groeneveld, a spokesperson for Naval Air Forces, told The Huffington Post the Navy would not confirm the pilot's name or the plane's tail number until 24 hours after notifying next-of-kin. 

The Blue Angels were set to perform this weekend at The Great Tennessee Air Show in Smyrna.

In a separate incident Thursday, an F-16 crashed near Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado following a flyover, according to the Air Force Times. The pilot ejected safely and reportedly was uninjured. 

Thursday's incident is the first fatal accident involving the Blue Angels since 2007, when Lt. Cmdr. Kevin Davis was killed when his F/A-18 aircraft went down near a Marine Corps station in Beaufort, South Carolina.

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