A Blue Angels F/A-18 fighter jet crashed Thursday near Nashville, Tennessee, killing the pilot just days before a weekend air show performance, officials said. A US official said the pilot was Marine Capt. Jeff Kuss, the AP reports. The official was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity. According to his official Blue Angels biography, Kuss joined the elite acrobatics team in 2014 and accumulated more than 1,400 flight hours. Harry Gill, the town manager in Smyrna just outside Nashville, said Thursday that the pilot was the only casualty and no civilians on the ground were hurt. The Navy said in a news release that the pilot was beginning to take off during an afternoon practice session when the crash happened. Five other F/A-18 jets landed safely moments after the crash.
"My thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of the Blue Angels after this tragic loss. I know that the Navy and Marine Corps Team is with me. We will investigate this accident fully and do all we can to prevent similar incidents in the future," Adm. John Richardson, the Navy's top officer, said in a Facebook post. This is the second fighter jet crash of the day for the military's elite fighter jet performance teams. A member of the US Air Force Thunderbirds crashed in Colorado following a flyover for the Air Force Academy graduation where President Barack Obama spoke. That pilot ejected safely into a field. And in Texas Thursday, three soldiers were killed and six were missing after an Army truck was washed from a low-water crossing and overturned in a rain-swollen creek at Fort Hood, the Texas Army post said. Three soldiers were rescued from the swift water and were in stable condition Thursday afternoon at Coryell Memorial Healthcare System in Gatesville.