Fatal blast at Michigan air show blamed on mechanical woe; team based in Springfield, Mo.

Published: Jul. 5, 2022 at 12:55 PM CDT
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BATTLE CREEK, Mich. (AP) — The father of the jet engine-powered semitruck driver killed during a performance at a southwestern Michigan air show is blaming the explosion on a mechanical failure.

The accident happened Saturday during a race between the Shockwave Jet Truck and two airplanes at the Battle Creek Field of Flight Air Show and Balloon Festival.

The custom-built jet truck reaches speeds topping 350 mph and races at air shows across North America, according to Springfield, Missouri-based Darnell Racing Enterprises.

Video from an audience member shows the truck catching fire before flipping down the runway at Battle Creek Executive Airport.

Chris Darnell, 40, was driving the truck at the time of the accident and died from his injuries, Battle Creek police said.

The father of the driver said the accident occurred “as a result of a mechanical failure on the jet truck.”

“(Chris) was so well-loved by everyone who knew him. Chris so loved the Air Show business. He was ‘Living the Dream’ as he said,” Neal Darnell wrote on Facebook.

Police were still investigating the accident Tuesday and didn’t release information on the cause. No other injuries were reported.

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