Witnesses said the elite demonstration team was flying in formation near the end of the show at the Marine Corps Air Station in Beaufort when one of the six F/A-18 Hornet jets dropped below the trees and crashed. Wreckage showered down, and eight people on the ground were injured. Raymond Voegeli, a plumber, was backing out of a driveway when the plane ripped through a grove of pine trees, dousing his truck in flames and debris. He said wreckage hit " "plenty of houses and mobile homes."
"It was just a big fireball coming at me," said Voegeli, 37. "It was just taking pine trees and just clipping them."
County Coroner Curt Copeland said the pilot was killed but officials did not release his identity. Local media reports indicated that the No. 6 jet crashed. The No. 6 jet is piloted by Lt. Cmdr. Kevin Davis, 32, of Pittsfield, Mass.
The cause of the crash is under investigation.
Navy Blue Angel No. 6 is shown minutes before crashing during an air show in Beaufort, S.C., Saturday. Birmingham News photo by Mark Almond
Navy file photo of U.S. Navy Blue Angels Flight Demonstration pilot, Lcdr. Kevin Davis, a native of Pittsfield, Mass. Lcdr. Davis was killed April 21, when his F/A-18 hornet crashed into a residential area outside Beaufort Marine Corps Air Base, South Carolina. The crash took place in the final minutes of the air show as the pilots were doing a maneuver, which involved all six planes joining from behind the crowd to form a Delta triangle. The cause of the crash remains under investigation. U.S. Navy photo
Kevin Davis (Bio)
Lieutenant Commander Kevin Davis is a native of Pittsfield, Massachusetts, and graduated from Reading Memorial High School in 1992 where he played football and was active with the Civil Air Patrol. He attended Embry Riddle Aeronautical University, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Aeronautical Science with honors in 1996.
Kevin reported to Naval Air Station (NAS) Pensacola, Florida, for Officer Candidate School and aviation indoctrination in September 1996. He completed primary flight training at NAS Corpus Christi, Texas, and transferred to NAS Meridian, Mississippi, for intermediate and advanced flight training. While there, he flew the T-2C Buckeye and TA-4J Skyhawk, and received his wings of gold in June 1999.
Kevin reported to Fighter Squadron 101 (VF-101) at NAS Oceana, Virginia, for training in the F-14 Tomcat and was the “Top Stick” in his class. In July 2000 he reported to the VF-11 “Red Rippers” where he completed deployments aboard the aircraft carriers USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) and USS John F. Kennedy (CV 67). While with the “Red Rippers,” Kevin served as the airframes/corrosion branch officer, air-to-ground training officer and head landing signals officer. His deployments included extended operations in the North Arabian Sea and Arabian Gulf in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
In July 2003, Kevin transitioned to the F/A-18 Hornet through Strike Fighter Squadron 125 (VFA-125) at NAS Lemoore, California, and then reported to the Fighter Composite Squadron (VFC-12) “Omars,” stationed at NAS Oceana, Virginia. While at VFC-12, Kevin served as a Navy adversary pilot providing valuable air-to-air training for fleet squadrons. In December of 2004, Kevin graduated from the United States Navy Fighter Weapons School (TOPGUN) as an adversary pilot. During his tour at VFC-12, Kevin worked as the schedules officer, legal officer, FRS/SFARP officer and assistant operations officer.
Kevin joined the Blue Angels in September 2005. He has accumulated more than 2,500 flight hours and 200 carrier arrested landings. His decorations include the Air Medal, two Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals, and various personal and unit awards. From the Blue Angels Official Website.