STARS & STRIPES — WASHINGTON (Associated Press) — A Blue Angels F/A-18 fighter jet crashed Thursday near Nashville, Tennessee, killing the pilot just days before a weekend air show performance, officials said.
A U.S. official said the pilot was Marine Capt. Jeff Kuss. The official was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity. According to his official Blue Angels biography, Kuss joined the elite aerobatics team in 2014 and accumulated more than 1,400 flight hours.
It was 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 after a flyover for the Air Force Academy graduation where President Barack Obama spoke. That pilot ejected safely into a field.
Harry Gill, the town manager in Smyrna just outside Nashville, said Thursday that the Blue Angels pilot was the only casualty and no civilians on the ground were hurt.
The Navy said in a news release that the pilot was beginning to take off during an afternoon practice session when the crash happened. Five other F/A-18 jets landed safely moments after the crash.