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Fighter Jet Crashes at Idaho Air Show

September 15, 2003

MOUNTAIN HOME, Idaho (AP) _ A jet in the Air Force’s vaunted Thunderbirds flight unit crashed at an air show Sunday, but the pilot ejected with only minor injuries and no injuries on the ground were reported.

About 85,000 spectators looked on as one of the six Lockheed Martin F-16C Fighting Falcons performing crashed during the ``Gunfighter Skies 2003″ air show at Mountain Home Air Force Base, about 50 miles southeast of Boise.

Capt. Chris Stricklin ejected safely and was taken to a medical facility on base. Air force officials would not disclose his condition, though immediately after the crash he reportedly waved to spectators.

According to witnesses, the jet was the last of six to take off and climbed straight into the sky. The pilot maneuvered the jet into a dive and steered toward the crowd. The jet seemed to suffer an engine failure when the pilot tried to pull up, witnesses said.

Authorities are investigating the cause of the crash.

The Thunderbirds unit has performed air demonstrations since 1947. The jets at the air show were from Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada.

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