Updated 7:17 p.m. ET
Officials are confirming a fatal crash of one of the Navy’s prized Blue Angels demonstration jets in Tennessee on Thursday — just hours after an Air Force Thunderbirds plane went down in Colorado in a separate incident.
"A U.S. Navy F-18 [Hornet] assigned to Navy’s demonstration squadron, the Blue Angels, crashed today while conducting a practice air show in the Smyrna area at approximately 3:01 p.m. Central Standard Time," Lt. Clinton Beaird, a spokesman for U.S. Naval Air Forces, told Military.com.
While Beaird said the condition of the pilot was still unknown, Smyrna town manager Harry Gill confirmed in a Thursday evening press conference that the pilot was killed in the crash. Gill said military officials and Federal Aviation Administration representatives were en route to the crash site, which has been cordoned off.
While Navy officials have said they do not plan to release the identity of the pilot until 24 hours after notifying the family, The Associated Press cited a U.S. official who confirmed that Marine Capt. Jeff Kuss, the opposing solo for the Blue Angels and the pilot of the #6 aircraft, died in the crash. A photo taken following the incident and circulated on social media shows five Blue Angels landed in a row on the ground, absent…