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F-86 fighter jet crashes at air show

June 1, 1997

BROOMFIELD, Colo. (AP) _ An F-86 fighter jet performing before thousands of people at an air show crashed in a Denver suburb Sunday, killing the pilot, officials said. No spectators were hurt.

The pilot of the Korean War-era jet was in the middle of performing maneuvers at Air Show Colorado ’97 when he crashed east of the Jefferson County Airport, air show spokesman Jim Czupor said.

Mike O’Connor, a Federal Aviation Administration official in Seattle, confirmed that the 63-year-old pilot had been killed. His name was not immediately available. No one else was on board the aircraft.

``It was just a huge fireball, it went a couple of hundred feet in the air,″ said Paul MacGregor, a radio talk show host who was watching the show through high-powered binoculars.

The fighter climbed straight up, did a loop and then came straight down, MacGregor said. The jet crashed east of the crowd, Czupor said.

The show, which drew thousands of spectators over two days to see attractions like the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds, was canceled, Czupor said.

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