An Air Force Thunderbird jet has crashed after performing a flyover over a commencement ceremony attended by President Barack Obama.
The Associated Press reported that the jet crashed after the flyover at an Air Force Academy commencement in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The Thunderbird jet crashed south of Colorado Springs minutes after completing the flyover ceremony.
The Colorado Springs Gazette, citing Air Force Academy officials, notes that the plane suffered engine failure before the crash. However, there will be an official investigation into the cause of the incident.
— KRDO NewsChannel 13 (@KRDONC13) June 2, 2016
According to local station KRDO, the pilot ejected safely from the plane and is being evaluated by Air Force Academy paramedics. And the US Air Force Air Combat Command has tweeted that the pilot is able to walk around.
Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters that President Obama has met with the downed pilot upon arriving at Peterson Air Force Base.
“The president thanked the pilot for his service to the country and expressed his relief that the pilot was not seriously injured,” Earnest said. “The president also thanked the first responders who acted quickly to tend to the pilot.”
The US Air Force Thunderbirds are an air demonstration team. The group flies modified F-16s and routinely perform flyovers over US Air Force Academy commencement ceremonies.