According to authorities, a jet-powered stunt vehicle ran out of control and crashed at an air show in Battle Creek, Michigan, killing the driver.
Battle Creek police identified Chris Darnell, 40, as the driver of the SHOCKWAVE Jet Truck, a custom-built semi-truck outfitted with three jet engines speeding down the runway at the Battle Creek Executive Airport at more than 300 miles per hour.
According to authorities, the tragedy happened on the 2nd of July, 2022, around 1:10 p.m. “during the pyrotechnic portion” of the display at the Battle Creek Field of Flight Air Show and Balloon Festival.
Mike Westra, an air show participant, captured a video of the truck racing two jets down the runway before crashing. In another footage, a parachute is deployed behind the truck just before the crash.
Westra told CNN that the large plume of black smoke and flames shown in the videos were part of the show’s pyrotechnic display and had nothing to do with the mishap.
Westra added that emergency personnel were on standby at the airport and responded immediately.
“They were putting water on the fire within a minute or two,” Westra added.
“It came to rest upside down,” Westra remarked after seeing the charred debris after the fire was put out.
According to officials, the collision is being investigated by the police department and the Battle Creek Fire Department.
Following the collision, the remainder of Saturday’s air show was cancelled, according to a post on the festival’s Facebook page.
According to the company’s website, the SHOCKWAVE Jet Truck can achieve speeds of more than 350 miles per hour. The truck was driven by Darnell and owned by Darnell Racing Enterprises of Springfield, Missouri, according to the company’s website.
Darnell’s father, Neal Darnell, acknowledged his youngest son’s death in a statement, adding that the incident occurred “as a result of mechanical failure.”
“We are so sad,” Neal Darnell wrote. “Just one month ago, Chris turned 40. He was so well-loved by everyone who knew him. Chris so loved the Air Show business.”