A U.S. pilot who was part of the Navy’s Blue Angels demonstration team died Thursday after his F/A-18 aircraft crashed in Smyrna, Tenn., southeast of Nashville, according to military and local officials. The Blue Angels had been preparing to hold an air show this weekend.
The jet went down in an open field not far from an apartment complex, local officials said during a news conference Thursday afternoon. The crash occurred some two miles from the runway.
These details come from the Navy:
“The pilot of the jet was taking off to start the afternoon practice when the mishap occurred.
“The name of the pilot is being withheld pending next-of-kin notification requirements.
“The other five Blue Angel jets were not involved in the incident and landed safely moments later.”
The crash occurred at approximately 4:01 ET, just as the team’s afternoon practice was beginning, the Navy says.
From member station Nashville Public Radio:
“The military flying team was in the middle of a nationwide tour to celebrate its 70th anniversary and was scheduled to fly at the Great Tennessee Airshow this weekend. Earlier in the day, a team of six jets flew over downtown Nashville, releasing streams of white smoke in a highly publicized fly-by.”