A Navy Blue Angel jet crashed Thursday around 3 p.m during a practice flight near the Smyrna-Rutherford County Airport, according to the airport authority.
According to Rutherford County Emergency Medical Service one person, the pilot, was killed in the Blue Angel crash. The victim was Marine Capt. Jeff Kuss. It’s believed now that he didn’t eject because he didn’t want civilians hurt and so he instead stayed with the plan to steer it away from apartment buildings.
The other five Blue Angel jets were not involved in the incident and landed safely moments later.
The crash occurred approximately two miles from the runway
The Blue Angels have announced that they will not be performing at this weekend’s airshow and will not be performing until further notice.
Also – there was an Air Force Thunderbirds crash today while the Thunderbirds were performing at the Air Force Academy. The pilot ejected and walked away from that incident. Read more about it here.
A thick cloud of smoke and fire was seen from Interstate 24 and just beyond a runway at the airport.
The Navy Blue Angels were practicing for their upcoming Great Tennessee Airshow this weekend. Earlier in the day, six jets soared over Nashville.
A Navy spokesman confirmed around 3:30 p.m that a Blue Angel was involved in the crash and all other Blue Angel jets are grounded.
The crash occurred the same day that a U.S. Air Force Thunderbird crashed during a flyover at a graduation ceremony near Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado. The pilot ejected before the plane crashed 15 miles south of Colorado Springs.
The Blue Angels are the world’s premier showman group in aviation performing all over the world.