Investigation Continues Into Blue Angels Crash

Posted at 6:32 AM, Jun 03, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-03 23:58:43-04

Investigators were back on the scene one day after a deadly plane crash claimed the life of U.S. Marine Capt. Jeff Kuss.

Capt. Kuss was killed Thursday afternoon when his F/A 18-hornet Blue Angels aircraft crashed shortly after takeoff.

The plane went down around 3 p.m. near the Smyrna Bowling Center and Nissan Drive – about 200 yards away from the Stones River Homes and Smyrna Elementary School.

The five other aircrafts were in the air at the time of the crash. They landed safely moments after.

More: Pilot Killed In Blue Angels Plane Crash

The Federal Aviation Administration has since taken over the investigation.

The Blue Angels had just flown over Nashville earlier in the morning. 

Meanwhile, tributes have been pouring in for Capt. Kuss. 

"That man is a hero, an absolute hero. He apparently went completely down with that plane when he could have ejected or taken out neighborhoods. But he chose to ride it down to the end," one resident said. 

He accumulated more than 1,400 flight hours and 175 carrier-arrested landings. His decorations included the Strike Flight Air Medal, the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, and various personal and unit awards.

A candle light vigil was held late Thursday night in Smyrna to honor Capt. Kuss. (More: Vigil Held For Fallen Blue Angels Pilot

Many people have paid their respects to Capt. Kuss at Lee Park where a makeshift memorial there has been growing.


The community of Smyrna came together Friday to remember Capt. Kuss.

Despite the tragedy, the Great Tennessee Air Show was set to continue through the weekend, but the Blue Angels would not be part of the show. (Click here to visit the website for the air show.)

Those with the Great Tennessee Air Show, the Smyrna/Rutherford County Airport Authority, and The Air Show Network have announced they will jointly donate a portion of proceeds of all ticket sales to the Captain Jeff Kuss Family Fund.

Prior to Thursday, 26 Blue Angel pilots had been killed at air shows or training exercises.

The most recent death was in 2007 when Lt. Cmdr. Kevin Davis was killed in a crash at Beaufort, South Carolina.

A gofundme account has been set up to help Capt. Kuss' family. To donate, click here.

The International Council of Air Shows Foundation has also been taking donations. You can find that link by clicking here.