Blue Angel #6 F/A -18 Hornet goes down

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Conagher, Apr 22, 2007.


  1. Conagher

    Conagher Dark Custom Rider Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    [​IMG]A Blue Angels pilot was killed Saturday afternoon after crashing during an air show at Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort.


    Witnesses said the F/A-18 Hornet appeared to be in control before it plummeted below the treeline at about 4 p.m., crashing near a heavily populated area off Laurel Bay Road near Shanklin and Pine Grove roads. Parts of the plane hit several houses, according to witnesses.

    Witnesses said it was Blue Angel No. 6 that crashed. The No. 6 plane was piloted by Lt. Cmdr. Kevin Davis of Pittsfield, Mass. Authorities wouldn't release the pilot's identity, but a friend of the Davis family confirmed the Massachusetts native had died, according to The Berkshire (Mass.) Eagle.
    "I said a quick prayer, hoping that it wasn't Kevin," Tom McGill told the western Massachusetts paper. "When I got home, I got a call from a friend saying that it was. (This is) devastating."

    Marine officials said they would release the pilot's name today.
    Davis was joining the "Delta formation" for the final maneuver of the aerial demonstration when the crash occurred, according to a release from the Navy.

    This year was Davis' second on the team and his first year as a demonstration pilot, the release states.

    "It would be inappropriate to speculate what might have caused this incident," said Lt. Cmdr. Anthony Walley, the squadron's right wing who flew in the No. 2 jet in the show. None of the other jets was involved, he said. "Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, who were at the air show today," Walley said.

    Eight people on the ground were reported injured in the crash, said William Winn, director of Beaufort County Emergency Management Department. However, he wouldn't say whether the injuries were life-threatening.
    Winn confirmed that several houses were damaged by debris, but to his knowledge, none of the houses was "destroyed," he said. A mile perimeter was established at the intersection of Shanklin and Pine Grove roads after the wreck, and no one besides residents of the immediate area will be allowed in or out until military and law enforcement officials complete their investigation.

    "We're asking people to please leave the debris alone," Winn said.
    Saturday's show was at the beginning of the team's flight season, which began last month, and more than 120,000 people were expected to attend the Beaufort air show.

    Many of the people in the streams of cars pouring out of air station gates even two hours after the crash had no idea a crash happened until they heard the news on the radio.

    "We left right at the end of the show and were walking out" when the crash happened, said Joe Maund, who heard the news on the radio. "When they landed, it ended abruptly."

    Eric Chaffins, a soldier stationed at Hunter Army Airfield in Savannah, said he knew something was wrong but no announcements were made at the air station.

    "They all came together for their final thing, and they split up, and there was black smoke," he said. "They announced all were coming in, but there were only five of them. … We didn't really know what's going on."
    Chaffins said he drove his wife and two young children to Beaufort just for the show.

    "It's kind of depressing," he said. "We came up for a family day out, and somebody got hurt."

    Tywila Walker left the air show early with her family so she could make it to work on time, but when they pulled up to her home on Shanklin Road, she found smoke billowing from behind her house and a hysterical next-door neighbor.

    "It was right behind our house," Walker said. "We were concerned it was our house."

    Her neighbor said she witnessed the crash. "She said a big ball of fire went over the house and debris was falling all over the yard," Walker said. "It all broke in shreds. … It was just breaking apart. Something had to happen in the air."

    Walker then ran behind the wooded area in the backyard of her home to a little pond about 100 yards from her house, where all she could see was smoke. There, she also saw Marines and firefighters searching for the pilot.

    Fred Yelinek was working at a home across the street from the initial impact. "I was not looking that way at the time but was in the yard. The plane hit the top of a tree and clipped it off. The sound of that turned me around," he said. "The plane had already passed through that yard and into Shanklin Road. It exploded on impact with a giant fireball, and of course it shook the earth."

    Jason Keith, of Yemassee, said he was driving west on Laurel Bay Road when he saw the plane crash behind the Food Lion grocery store, which is south of the road. "Something caught my eye, and all of a sudden I saw a huge black explosion," he said. "The plane went down, and we watched it for a while and I didn't see any parachute or anything. If he had been 400 yards to his right he would have plowed into the road. The other guys were just flying along." Keith said he saw a home catch fire.

    Tim Stamps, 18, said he was walking down the road, coming back from Food Lion on Laurel Bay Road, when he saw the plane circling in the air and smoking. He also saw the left side of a house covered in debris and the windows were broken.

    Former County Councilman Mark Generales was in his boat on the Beaufort River at the time of the accident.

    Generales said the planes came around Lady's Island and Beaufort, then swung out toward the air station. "They looked to be doing an approach," he said. "They had appeared from the distance to be just above the tree line, and everything appeared to be going fine. All of the sudden, one plane seemed to slow down, and it fell straight out of the air."

    Generales said he didn't see any smoke and didn't see an ejection.
    It appeared the plane "just lost power," he said. "The plane just disappeared," Generales said. "And a couple of seconds later, I saw the smoke."

    Robert Bowden also was in the Beaufort River at the time of the crash.
    "The angle went wrong on it. He dipped below the trees," he said. "When he dipped out of my eyesight, it was clear he went down and the rest of the formation wasn't aware of it." Bowden said he didn't see the jet hit
    anything.

    Dave Perkins, lives on Pine Grove Road and saw some of the wreckage from the crash site. He said parts of the jet were everywhere and said there was a hole in the mobile home across the street about 10 feet long and 2 feet wide.

    "There was a fire on the telephone pole on Shanklin and Pine Grove, and it was ablaze and parts all along Shanklin, across the street," Perkins said. "The canopy of the plane was across the street from me on fire."
    He said the incident was "like nothing like I've ever felt before."

    Joe Farrell, who had a plane on display at Saturday's air show, said the jet largely appeared in control. "It looked like it was in absolute control all the way into the ground," he said. "We watched the guys try to reform. He made the turn and slid right into the ground."

    Former Blue Angels pilot and Pensacola City Mayor John Fogg called the Saturday afternoon crash of a U.S. Navy Blue Angels jet a "tragedy," according to the Pensacola (Fla.) News Journal.

    "The whole nation is impacted by something like this," said Fogg, who flew the No. 3 slot and No. 4 slot in 1973 and 1974 for the Navy's precision flying team, according to The Journal.

    The elite team, which is based at Pensa-cola Naval Air Station, recently celebrated its 60th anniversary.
    Anyone with information or reports of debris can call Beaufort County dispatch at 524-2777.

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    RIP Lt Cmdr Kevin Davis[angel]
     
  2. E.L.

    E.L. Moderator of Lead Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    RIP
     
  3. Bear

    Bear Monkey+++ Site Supporter+++ Founding Member Iron Monkey

    Prayers sent for him, family and friends....
     
  4. Quigley_Sharps

    Quigley_Sharps The Badministrator Administrator Founding Member

    Amen [angel]
     
  5. CRC

    CRC Survivor of Tidal Waves | RIP 7-24-2015 Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    Sail on . . . .


    Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth
    And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
    Sunward I've climbed and joined the tumbling mirth of sun-split clouds, – and done a hundred things
    You have not dreamed of wheeled and soared and swung
    High in the sunlit silence. Hov'ring there,
    I've chased the shouting wind along, and flung
    My eager craft through footless falls of air...
    Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue
    I've topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace
    Where never lark, nor eer eagle flew –
    And, while with silent lifting mind I've trod
    The high, untrespassed sanctity of space,
    Put out my hand and touched the face of God.

    -John Gillespie Magee
     
  6. magnus392

    magnus392 Field Marshall Mags Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

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