The investigation into what caused the Blue Angels jet to crash continues in Smyrna, TN. FAA investigators along with military personnel were at the scene of the crash on Friday. Details of what led to the crash have not been released.
A candlelight vigil was held for the pilot on Thursday evening. Some residents have said that the pilot likely chose to remain in the aircraft instead of ejecting to avoid crashing into nearby apartments, calling him a hero for putting his life before the lives of others.
A US Navy Blue Angels F/A-18 jet crashed in Smyrna, killing the pilot. The plane crashed around 3:00 o'clock Thursday afternoon in a field between the Sam Davis Home and the airport.
In an announcement from the Navy, Captain James "Jeff" Kuss was killed in the crash. They said that all six Blue Angels aircraft were practicing for this weekend's Great Tennessee Airshow when Captain Kuss' aircraft went down shortly after take off in a field between the Sam Davis Home and the Smyrna-Rutherford County Airport.
Emergency crews were quickly on the scene. Smyrna Fire Chief Bill Culbertson explained . . .
Smyrna Town Manager Harry Gill and Fire Chief Culbertson said the area was immediately secured . . .
NewsRadio WGNS learned from Chief Culbertson that the Smyrna Fire Department will continue to assist the Navy...
Smyrna Town Manager Harry Gill concluded . . .
NewsRadio WGNS also spoke with an eyewitness to the tragedy. Bill Lynch said . . .
A news release from the Navy, says an F/A-18 Hornet with the Navy's elite demonstration squadron crashed shortly after take-off Thursday (6/2/2016), killing the pilot just days before a weekend air show performance.
Blue Angels pilot Marine Captain Jeff Kuss was killed in the crash.
Captain Kuss' biography says that he joined the elite acrobatics team in 2014 and accumulated more than 1,400 flight hours. He was a native of Durango, Colorado, and was commissioned as a 2nd lieutenant in the Marines in 2006. He previously served in Afghanistan before joining the Blue Angels
The Smyrna crash was the second military fighter jet performance team crash to occur on Thursday (6/2/2016). Earlier in the day, a U.S. Air Force Thunderbird F-16 crashed after a flyover at the US Air Force Academy's graduation near Boulder, Colorado. President Barack Obama was in attendance there. The Thunderbird pilot was able to safely eject before his aircraft hit the ground.
Scroll down for uncut audio of the press conference.
Killed was Captain Jeff Kuss (Photo from WBOC):
Recording of complete Smyrna, TN press conference
An airplane crash just occurred in Smyrna, TN around 3PM Thursday. The crash was near the Smyrna / Rutherford County Airport. Reports indicate the plane was a United States Navy Blue Angel jet that crashed.
The plane crashed at 1399 Sam Davis Road near the Smyrna Bowling Center and Nissan Drive.
Smyrna Police Sgt. Bobby Gibson told WGNS, "A plane crash did occur within the past hour. Emergency crews are busy working the scene.""
At least one person has been killed in the plane crash.
The accident happened during a practice flight as Blue Angel pilots prepare for the Great American Air Show this upcoming weekend in Smyrna, TN.
A witness, who was filming the Blue Angels taking practice flights, caught this audio of the crash...
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Eyewitness Kirsten tells NewsChannel 5 she and her son were near the Sam Davis Home visiting when the plane went down...
Kirsten adds the one plane that went down was flying in an opposite direction from four others...
Town of Smyrna, John Lanza told WGNS NEWS:
At appox, 3:00pm (central time) a plane crashed in Smyrna, Tennessee. Few details are being released at this time. However, this crash did occur during afternoon maneuver sessions in advance of the Great Tennessee Airshow that is scheduled for this Saturday and Sunday.
It is believed the plane that crashed is one of the U.S. Navy Blue Angels.
The Smyrna Police Department will continue to assist in the situation but is yielding the investigation to the Federal Aviation Administration and the U.S. Military.
Below: Photo from News Channel 5