'Blue Angel' jet crashes at Beaufort Air Show - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina |

'Blue Angel' jet crashes at Beaufort Air Show

BEAUFORT, SC (WIS) - A Navy pilot has been killed after his Blue Angel jet crashed during an air show in Beaufort Saturday afternoon.

The plane went down in the closing moments of the elite squads routine and plunged into a neighborhood of small homes and trailers.

Eyewitnesses say the six planes were flying in formation when one of the jets apparently crashed into a group of trees in a Beaufort neighborhood, starting several house fires.

Witnesses say metal and plastic wreckage hit homes in the neighborhood located about 35 miles northwest of Hilton Head Island. County emergency management director William Winn says several homes were damaged. Eight people on the ground were injured.

According to the Beaufort County Coroner, the pilot was killed in the crash. The pilot's identity  has not yet been released, pending notification of family members.

Lieutenant Commander Anthony Walley is also a Blue Angel pilot. Walley confirmed the crash took place in the final minutes of the air show, but would not elaborate on what maneuvers the aircraft were performing.

During a news conference at the Marine Corps Air Station on Saturday evening, LCDR Anthony Walley said, "Our squadron and the entire US Navy are grieving in the loss of a great American, a great naval officer, but most of all a great friend.  Our thoughts and prayers are with his family this evening who were at the air show."

Air Show officials say the show will continue Sunday, but the Blue Angels will not perform as scheduled.

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

For more information on the Beaufort Air Show, click the link to the show's website here. For more information on the Blue Angels flight squad, click on the link to the group's website here. Count on News 10 to bring you any new information as this story develops.

Updated by Logan Smith

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