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Blue Angels pilot killed, Thunderbirds pilot ejects in separate crashes

The Blue Angels perform maneuvers over the U.S. Naval Academy on May 25, 2016, in Annapolis, Maryland.

WASHINGTON — Two U.S. military demonstration aircraft crashed Thursday in separate incidents, one in Tennessee and the other in Colorado, where President Barack Obama delivered a commencement address to the Air Force Academy graduation.

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In the Colorado incident, a U.S. Air Force F-16 flying with the Thunderbirds performance squadron crashed near Peterson Air Force Base shortly after a flyover during the Academy’s graduation ceremonies.

The pilot ejected safely from the plane before the crash, about 4 miles south of Peterson, at about 1 p.m. local time, according to Air Force officials.

Meanwhile, a Navy aircraft crashed hundreds of miles away in Tennessee.

Navy officials confirmed that a jet from the Blue Angels demonstration squadron crashed near an airfield in Smyrna, Tenn., at about 3 p.m. local time. The F/A-18 Hornet was participating in practice exercises for an air show with other jets, but no other plane was involved in the crash, Navy officials said.

Navy officials said the pilot died in the crash.

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