Air Show Favorite Shockwave Jet Truck Totaled, Driver Dead in Violent Tarmac Explosion


An accident at a Michigan air show has claimed the life of the driver of a jet-powered truck that burst into flames during the show.

Chris Darnell died in the accident at the Battle Creek Field of Flight Air Show and Balloon Festival, according to the Washington Post.

The crash took place amid a pyrotechnic display that included planned explosions, according to the Battle Creek Enquirer.

WARNING: The following video contains images that some viewers may find disturbing.

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Video of the incident shows the Shockwave Jet Truck zooming down the runway while racing two planes above it at roughly 300 mph before catching fire and spinning.

“He was doing his show and going down the runway,” said Suze Gusching, media relations for Field of Flight, according to the Battle Creek Enquirer. “He passed by the explosion, and his truck had exploded.”

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The Battle Creek Fire Department, Battle Creek Police Department and Federal Aviation Administration investigated the crash Saturday.

The air show canceled is Saturday activities after the accident.

WARNING: The following video contains images that some viewers may find disturbing.

Neal Darnell made a Facebook post about the incident in which his son died.

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“During today’s SHOCKWAVE Jet Truck performance at the Battlecreek Field of Flight Airshow an accident occurred as a result of a mechanical failure on the Jet Truck. Regretfully Chris Darnell the driver and my youngest son passed away from his injuries at approximately 1:01 pm.,” he posted.

“We are so sad. Just one month ago Chris turned 40. He was so well loved by everyone who knew him. Chris so loved the Air Show business. He was ‘Living the Dream’ as he said.”

The Air Force Thunderbirds posted a statement about Darnell’s death on the group’s Facebook page.

“We are saddened to hear about the loss of our close friend, and fellow demo performer, today in a tragic mishap during the Field of Flight Air Show in Battle Creek, Michigan,” the post said.

“Chris Darnell, the driver of the SHOCKWAVE Jet Truck, has been performing alongside us for many years and has been a staple of the Air Show community.

“His love for motorsports and passion for his craft always inspired us and those around him.

“The collective hearts of the U. S. Air Force Thunderbirds are with Chris, his family, his friends, and his entire demonstration team at this time,” the post concluded.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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