Blue Angel pilot dies from crash

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BEAUFORT, S.C. - A Navy Blue Angel jet crashed during an air show Saturday, plunging into a neighborhood of small homes and trailers and killing the pilot.

Witnesses said the planes were flying in formation during the show at the Marine Corps Air Station at about 4 p.m., and one dropped below the trees and crashed, sending up clouds of smoke.

Raymond Voegeli, a plumber, was backing out of a driveway when the plane ripped through a grove of pine trees, dousing his truck in flames and debris. He said wreckage hit "plenty of houses and mobile homes."

Witnesses said metal and plastic wreckage - some of it on fire - hit homes in the neighborhood, about 35 miles northwest of Hilton Head Island. William Winn, the county's emergency management director, said several homes were damaged. Eight people on the ground were hurt.

The crash took place in the final minutes of the air show, said Lt. Cmdr. Anthony Walley, a Blue Angel pilot. He said the name of the pilot would not be released until relatives were notified of the death.

"Our squadron and the entire U.S. Navy are grieving the loss of a great American, a great Naval officer and a great friend," Lt. Cmdr. Walley said.

A Navy statement said the pilot had been on the team for two years - and it was his first as a demonstration pilot. The accident was under investigation, the statement said.

John Sauls, who lives near the crash site, said the planes were banking back and forth before one disappeared and a plume of smoke shot up.

"It's one of those surreal moments when you go, 'No, I didn't just see what I saw,'" he said.

BLUE ANGELS


The Blue Angels is the U. S. Navy's Flight Demonstration Squadron.


Including Saturday's crash, 24 Blue Angels Navy flight squadron pilots have been killed during air shows or in training.


Since its inception in 1946, the Blue Angels have performed for more than 427 million fans.

Source: www.blueangels.navy.mil/

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Equaltreatmentforall
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Equaltreatmentforall 04/22/07 - 07:52 am
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I have seen the Blue Angels

I have seen the Blue Angels perform many times at the Foir Grounds in Gray, Tn. Always amazing and flawless. This is certainly a heartbreak.

mgroothand
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mgroothand 04/22/07 - 07:54 am
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Finally after many days of

Finally after many days of survival training, I was "fit" to fly with the Blue Angels. For about one hour I flew in the trainer over Mobile Bay and Pensacola Beach doing many of the stunts and acrobatics they do in their impressive air show. Afterwards I interviewed the training officer, the following year he crashed and died performing in an air show over Niagara Falls. Every once in a while I will watch the videotape of that memorable flight. I'll do that again today.

markxr7
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markxr7 04/22/07 - 08:59 am
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We were at Beaufort MCAS

We were at Beaufort MCAS yesterday to watch the airshow when my daughter and I saw number 6 go down minutes before the final act of the show. The jet lost altitude while forming up the rear of the delta formation and we lost site of him in the distance behind the tree line. Then tragically we saw the plume of smoke and knew something went terribly wrong. Our hearts our heavy today for the loss of Lt. Cmdr. Kevin Davis and our prayers go out to his family and the Blue Angels team.

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