On Saturday afternoon, July 2, a Shockwave jet truck driver was killed in a freak accident at a popular Michigan air show.
The victim was later identified as 40-year-old Chris Darnell, who died shortly after his vehicle suffered mechanical failures.
Who was Chris Darnell?
Chris Darnell was the driver and pilot of the Flash Fire Jet Truck and the Shockwave Jet Truck.
He was part of the show team for the family run Darnell Racing Enterprise.
Based in Springfield, Missouri, the teams travel across the United States to perform their shows.
According to the team website, Chris was a veteran motorsport promotions businessman and had spent years perfecting his drag racing skills.
The driver had a bachelor’s degree in marketing, advertising and promotion from Missouri State University and owned a truck accessories company called 4 Wheel Customs.
His devastated father Neal, who shared driving duties with his son, said Chris was “living his dream” before his tragic death.
Confirming his son’s death in a Facebook post, he said: “We are so sad. Chris just turned 40 a month ago,” Neal wrote.
“He was loved so much by everyone who knew him.”
“Chris loved the air show business so much. He lived the dream as he said.”
What happened in the Shockwave jet truck accident?
Darnell died after his jet truck caught fire while racing at 300 miles per hour as part of an event during the Battle Creek Field of Flight Air Show and Balloon Festival.
The Shockwave Jet Truck was speeding with two planes when the incident occurred.
As the truck’s parachute deployed, the truck burst into flames and exploded.
The explosion left thick black smoke in the air.
Horror footage shows the moment the vehicle exploded in front of shocked Michigan onlookers on Saturday.
Suze Gusching, Media Relations for Field of Flight, told the Battle Creek Enquirer: “[The driver] did his show and walked down the catwalk.
“He drove past the explosion and his truck exploded.”
According to the team’s website, the Shockwave Truck features three Pratt & Whitney J34-38 jet engines originally used by the US Navy’s T2 Buckeys.
The engines produce 36,000 horsepower and deliver 21,000 pounds of thrust, allowing the truck to reach speeds in excess of 350 miles per hour.
An investigation by the Battle Creek Fire Department, Battle Creek Police Department and Federal Aviation Administration is ongoing.
The Battle Creek Field of Flight Air Show and Balloon Festival was scheduled to take place from June 30th to July 4th.
The air show was canceled for the remainder of the day on Saturday July 2 following the incident but was expected to resume on Sunday July 3.
https://www.the-sun.com/news/5695926/chris-darnell-shockwave-jet-truck-driver/ Who was Chris Darnell? | The US sun