Video Courtesy: Brandon Lacic
BATTLE CREEK, Mich. (WGNO)— A nationally-known racer with ties to New Orleans died in a fiery crash over the weekend.
According to WGNO’s sister station WOOD in Grand Rapids, the crash happened on Saturday at the Field of Flight Air Show in Battle Creek, Mich., ultimately claiming the life of driver Chris Darnell.
According to our affiliate, drivers and pilots were performing Field of Flight activities, which included Darnell racing the aircrafts at speeds up to 300 mph down the airport runway, when the jet truck flipped and burst into flames. All performances after the crash were canceled for the remainder of the day.
The 40-year-old’s father later told WOOD that a blown tire was to blame for his son’s death.
A Missouri native, Darnell drove the SHOCKWAVE Jet Truck to airshows across the nation, including the New Orleans Air Show in March. Photos capture by photographer Rick Erbach capture Darnell in the final months of his life, doing what his father said he loved doing most.
Upon hearing the news, Andrew Thomas, a spokesperson for the Naval Air Station in Belle Chasse, gave his condolences to the Darnell family, saying:
“Chris Darnell has been a good friend of the air show and will be missed by all of us.”
The crash remains under investigation by the Battle Creek police and fire departments and the FAA.