The Latest: Thunderbirds cancel shows after jet crash

AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. (AP) — The Latest on an Air Force Thunderbird jet crash in Colorado (all times local):

8:03 p.m.

Upcoming Thunderbirds shows are being canceled after a pilot was forced to ditch his plane shortly after a flyover at the Air Force Academy’s commencement ceremony, where President Barack Obama was speaking.

Officials say they are canceling the shows while they investigate Thursday’s crash, but they didn’t say how long the team will be grounded.

The pilot, who safely ejected, is in good condition, but he will undergo medical screenings.

The Thunderbirds’ next scheduled shows were at Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico; North Kingston, Rhode Island; Ocean City, Maryland; and Hill Air Force Base, Utah.


3:35 p.m.

The Air Force has identified the pilot of a jet that crashed following a flyover in Colorado. He is Maj. Alex Turner of Chelmsford, Massachusetts.

The Air Force Combat Command says Turner has more than 270 combat hours over Libya and Iraq.

Turner bailed out of his F-16 jet just after doing a flyover at the U.S. Air Force Academy, where President Barack Obama was speaking during a graduation.

Obama met with the pilot after the crash and thanked him for his service. The president also expressed his relief that he wasn’t seriously injured.


2:20 p.m.

President Barack Obama met with the pilot of a U.S. Air Force Thunderbird jet shortly after the plane crashed following a flyover at the U.S. Air Force Academy.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest says the president thanked the pilot for his service and expressed his relief that he wasn’t seriously injured. The pilot safely ejected.

The F-16 crashed in a field near Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs just after ceremonies at the nearby academy where Obama delivered the commencement address.

Authorities say no one on the ground was injured.

2:00 p.m.

President Barack Obama was about 15 miles away from where an Air Force Thunderbird jet crashed after an Air Force Academy graduation.

Obama was still at Falcon Stadium at the Air Force Academy, where commencement took place. The ceremony lasted about 30 minutes. The president was taking photographs and greeting attendees in a private area during the Thunderbirds flyover.

News of the crash broke while Obama’s motorcade was returning to Peterson Air Force Base — just next to where the jet crashed — for his flight back to Washington.

1:44 p.m.

An Air Force Thunderbird jet crashed south of Colorado Springs just after a flyover for a graduation of Air Force Academy cadets where President Barack Obama had spoken.

Air Force spokeswoman Lt. Col. Michal (ma-CALL) Kloeffler-Howard said Thursday the pilot ejected. There was no information on the pilot’s condition. No injuries on the ground were reported.

Obama was still at the graduation site at the time of the crash, taking photos with attendees prior to returning to Washington. The crash happened about 15 miles south of the academy.

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