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Jet Truck Driver Dies After Vehicle Explodes During Air Show

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Jet Truck Driver Dies After Vehicle Explodes During Air Show

An American driver has been killed during a tragic explosion while travelling at 300mph in a jet truck, racing two planes, for a 'pyrotechnic' event.

Chris Darnell, 40, was taking part in the Battle Creek Air Show, based in Michigan, driving a Shockwave jet truck.

While racing two planes that were going 300mph, a terrible accident took place.

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Upon releasing his parachute, Darnell's jet truck tragically exploded in flames just after 1.00pm yesterday, 2 July.

Upon releasing his parachute, Darnell's jet truck tragically exploded in flames. Credit: WWMT
Upon releasing his parachute, Darnell's jet truck tragically exploded in flames. Credit: WWMT

A media relations representative for Field of Flight, the air show and balloon festival set to run from 30 June to 4 July, issued a statement to the Battle Creek Enquirer.

Suze Gusching reported: "He [Darnell] was doing his show and going down the runway.

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'He passed by the explosion, and his truck had exploded," she concluded.

Chris Darnell was racing two planes that were going 300 mph. Credit: Shockwave, Aftershock & Fire Flash Jet Trucks
Chris Darnell was racing two planes that were going 300 mph. Credit: Shockwave, Aftershock & Fire Flash Jet Trucks

The Battle Creek Police Department in Michigan released a series of official statements via their Facebook page yesterday, regarding the situation.

Starting off the statement with 'Major incident', the post continued: "At about 1:10 this afternoon, during the pyrotechnic portion of the Battle Creek Field of Flight Air Show and Balloon Festival at Battle Creek Executive Airport, an accident happened that has resulted in a death."

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A few hours later, the police department followed up the original statement with a 'Final update for today about the air show accident'.


The Battle Creek Police Department in Michigan released a series of official statements via their Facebook page. Credit: Battle Creek Police Department/Facebook
The Battle Creek Police Department in Michigan released a series of official statements via their Facebook page. Credit: Battle Creek Police Department/Facebook

The update confirmed that: "Chris Darnell, 40, died today during the air show at the Battle Creek Field of Flight Air Show and Balloon Festival.

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"Darnell drives the SHOCKWAVE Jet Truck during the air show; it races over 300 mph down the runway at the Battle Creek Executive Airport, where Field of Flight activities take place," the post added.

The statement concluded: "The remaining air show performances were canceled today; the air show will return on Sunday. The remaining Saturday evening activities will continue as scheduled today, as well as all activities on the schedule for July 3 and 4."

Many are sending their sentiments to Darnell and his family. Credit: Battle Creek Police Department/Facebook
Many are sending their sentiments to Darnell and his family. Credit: Battle Creek Police Department/Facebook

Many are sending their sentiments to Darnell and his family, offering their support and grievances.

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One Facebook user wrote: "He went out doing what he loved, prayers to the family."

"Thoughts and prayers going out to his family and friends...that was a horrible crash," commented a second.

A third added: "My sincere condolences to him and his family. How tragic!"

If you have experienced a bereavement and would like to speak with someone in confidence contact Cruse Bereavement Care via their national helpline on 0808 808 1677 

Featured Image Credit: Shockwave, Aftershock & Fire Flash Jet Trucks/WWMT

Topics: News, US News, Sport

Rhiannon Ingle
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