Coming on the heels of the Thunderbirds F-16 crash in Colorado Springs earlier today, a US Navy Blue Angels F/A-18 Hornet also crashed this afternoon while practicing for the Great Tennessee Air Show in Smyrna just after 3PM. The pilot was killed during the crash, according to the US Navy, and the pilot’s name is being withheld pending next of kin notification.
The Blue Angels had performed a flyover in Nashville earlier in the day, before landing at Smyrna and were taking off to begin practice this afternoon when the crash occurred. The jet crashed near an apartment complex approximately 2 miles away from the Smyrna airport, causing localized power outages and witnesses reported seeing a massive, fiery explosion that shook area homes.
Chief of Naval Operations Admiral John Richardson offered the following statement via social media: “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.”
No indication has been given as to the cause of the crash, however the Navy has said it will conduct an investigation.