U.S. Navy identifies Blue Angel pilot who died in crash

Reuters News
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Posted: Jun 03, 2016 5:29 PM

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The pilot from the Navy's Blue Angels flight demonstration squadron who died in a crash has been identified as Marine Captain Jeff Kuss of Durango, Colorado, the Pentagon said on Friday.

Kuss, 32, was killed on Thursday when his F/A-18 fighter crashed in Smyrna, Tennessee. Kuss had taken off to start a practice ahead of a weekend air show when he went down about 2 miles (3.2 km) from the runway.

The cause of the mishap is under investigation, the Navy said in a statement. Kuss was in his second year on the Blue Angels and his first year as a demonstration pilot.

The other five Blue Angel jets in the squadron were not involved in the accident and landed safely, the statement said.

The Tennessee crash was the second involving a U.S. military demonstration team on Thursday. In Colorado, a pilot with the Air Force's Thunderbirds squadron was unhurt when his F-16 jet crashed in a field 5 miles (8 km) south of Peterson Air Force Base, the Air Force said.

(Reporting by Ian Simpson in Washington; Editing by Richard Chang)