Officials: Both airmen on Thunderbirds jet in Ohio accident in good condition

Thunderbirds
Capt. Erik Gonsalves (left) and Staff Sgt. Kenneth Cordova / USAF Thunderbirds

DAYTON, Ohio — An F-16 Thunderbird carrying two airmen – one from Colorado – was flipped over by a strong gust of wind Friday.

According to the Dayton Daily News, a CareFlight unit responded to the crash and removed the pilot, Capt. Erik Gonsalves, from the aircraft about an hour and a half after the crash. The passenger, Sgt. Kenneth Cordova of Littleton, was rescued about 20 minutes later.

Both were taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries and officials say there are currently in good condition. Cordova has been released from the hospital.

According to the USAF Thunderbirds official web site, Gonsalves is an advanced pilot and narrator with the Thunderbirds and Cordova is a tactical aircraft maintainer.

Before the rollover at Dayton International Airport around 12:20 p.m., the plane flew the unfriendly skies with wind gusts reaching up to 30 mph and heavy rain that showered the area.

Officials say the plane sustained damage and “more details will be released following an aircraft investigation and safety investigation board.”

“Our first priority is taking care of our Thunderbird teammates and ensuring future safety” said Lt. Col. Jason Heard, Thunderbirds Commander/Leader.

The Thunderbirds’ Saturday performance in the Dayton Air Show has been canceled and Sunday’s performance is to be determined.

 


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