BATTLE Creek Shockwave jet truck driver Chris Darnell was ‘living his dream’ before his tragic death at the air show on July 2.
Darnell’s father, Neal, shared the news confirming his son’s death, caused by mechanical failure during the air show, in a Facebook post.
“We are so sad. Just one month ago Chris turned 40,” Neal wrote.
“He was so well loved by everyone who knew him.”
“Chris so loved the air show business. He was ‘living the dream’ as he said.”
Darnell died after his jet truck was engulfed in flames while racing at speeds of 300mph as part of an event during the Battle Creek Field of Flight Air Show and Balloon Festival.
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The Shockwave Jet Truck was racing two planes when the incident occurred.
As the parachute from the truck deployed, the truck engulfed in flames and exploded.
The explosion left thick black smoke in the air.
Horror footage shows the moment the vehicle exploded in front of shocked onlookers in Michigan on Saturday.
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Suze Gusching, media relations for Field of Flight, told the Battle Creek Enquirer: “[The driver] was doing his show and going down the runway.
“He passed by the explosion, and his truck had exploded.”
The Shockwave Jet Truck is part of the Darnell Racing Enterprise’s show team, which includes the Aftershock Jet Fire truck and the Flash Fire Jet Truck.
The teams are based in Springfield, Missouri, and travel all across the United States to perform their shows.
According to the team website, the Shockwave Truck features three Pratt & Whitney J34-38 jet engines originally used by the US Navy T2 Buckeys.
The engines produce 36,000 horsepower and provide 21,000 pounds of thrust, allowing the truck to reach speeds of more than 350 mph.
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 June 30 – July 4.
The air show was canceled for the remainder of the day on Saturday after the incident, but was expected to resume Sunday.