A Blue Angels F/A-18 fighter jet pilot was killed in a crash Thursday near Nashville, Tenn. The pilot has been identified as USMC Capt. Jeff Kuss from Durango.
WASHINGTON (CBS4/AP) – A Blue Angels F/A-18 fighter jet pilot was killed in a crash Thursday near Nashville, Tenn. The pilot has been identified as USMC Capt. Jeff Kuss from Durango.
Kuss graduated Durango High School and Fort Lewis College. Officials say Kuss did not eject and was likely killed in the crash.
The Blue Angels were practicing for an air show performance when the crash happened.
“My thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of the Blue Angels after this tragic loss. 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,” Adm. John Richardson, the Navy’s top officer, said in a Facebook post.
Five other F/A-18 jets landed safely moments after the crash.
This is the second fighter jet crash of the day for the military’s elite fighter jet performance teams. A member of the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds crashed in Colorado following a flyover for the Air Force Academy graduation where President Barack Obama spoke. That pilot ejected safely into a field.
People near the crash site told The Tennessean newspaper that they heard a huge explosion and saw a massive plume of smoke when the plane went down. Jennifer Elliott, who had been watching the jets practice before going inside her house, said everything shook.
“It sounded like car crashed into my house,” she said.
Rebecca Durand told the newspaper she thought the jet was performing a stunt when she saw its nose come straight down.
“Instead, I just saw this big orange explosion,” she said.
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