Blue Angels' Jet Crashes
By: Heartland News & WTOC
BEAUFORT, SC (WTOC) - WTOC has learned at least one person is dead after a plane in the celebrated Blue Angels flying squad crashed at the Beaufort Air Show Saturday afternoon.
The Navy F-18 jet crashed at around 4:00pm Saturday while flying in the Blue Angels' performance, according to WTOC in Savannah, Georgia. Eyewitnesses say the six planes were flying in formation when one of the jets apparently crashed into a group of trees in a Beaufort neighborhood, starting several house fires.
Witnesses tell WTOC the crash happened toward the end of the Angels' performance, when the six jets dipped below the trees. The #6 plane did not emerge with the rest of the planes, and a plume of black smoke soon rose from the place the jet disappeared. Witnesses to the crash and nearby residents say the plane clipped at least two houses on the way down.
According to the Beaufort County Coroner, the pilot was killed in the crash. The pilot's identity has not yet been released, pending notification of family members.
Officials at a Saturday evening press conference said several homes were damaged and eight people on the ground were injured.
Witness at the show we have spoken with says the crash happened toward the end of the show, the announcer had said pilots would sign autographs after the show, then they say a plume of smoke come up above the trees, four planes were left in sky, 5th plane circled plume of smoke, #6 plane went down. Rescue helicopter flew to scene, ambulance and fire truck followed.
A duty officer at the Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort says they are not taking phone calls.
At the Blue Angels command headquarters at Pensacola Naval Air Station the petty officer on duty said he had no comment at this time.
Air Show officials say the show will continue Sunday, but the Blue Angels will not perform as scheduled.
The last crash involving the Blue Angels was in 1999 in Georgia. Two pilots were killed when their F-18 jet crashed while to trying to land.
Tune in to Heartland News at 10pm and here at KFVS12.com for the latest information.