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

Marine Capt. Jeff Kuss, 30, of Durango,
Colorado, U.S. part of the Navy Fight Demonstration Squadron, the Blue
Angels, is pictured in Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, South
Carolina, U.S. in this July 30, 2014 handout photo. Cpl. John
Wilkes/U.S. Marines/Handout via…

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.

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