Navy Pilot Killed After ‘Blue Angels’ F/A-18 Hornet Crashes In Tennessee

A U.S. Navy F/A-18 Hornet, part of the branch's Blue Angels flight demonstration team, performs a looping maneuver over Smyrna, Tenn., in 2012. A pilot was killed Thursday when his fighter jet crashed in Smyrna shortly after takeoff. The team has been practicing for an air show this weekend. File Photo by U.S. Navy/Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Andrew Johnson

SMYRNA, Tenn., June 2 (UPI) — A U.S. Navy pilot was killed Thursday after his F/A-18 Hornet fighter jet crashed in Tennessee — the second accident of the day involving a military aircraft — officials said.

The jet, part of the Navy’s Blue Angels jet demonstration unit, crashed not long after taking off on a practice mission Thursday afternoon near the town of Smyrna, about 20 miles southeast of Nashville.

Black smoke could be seen for miles. The cause of the crash is under investigation. The identity of the pilot was not immediately reported.

“I can confirm that there was a mishap with the Blue Angels,” Navy commander and spokeswoman Jeannete Groeneveld told ABC News. “I have no details on the status of the pilot.”

The Blue Angels have been practicing this week in advance of the Great Tennessee Air Show this weekend.

Earlier Thursday, an Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon went down near Colorado Springsafter performing a flyover at the end of the academy’s graduation ceremony, which featured a commencement address from President Barack Obama. The pilot ejected safely.


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