The driver of a jet-powered semi truck died in a fiery crash Saturday in Michigan in front of horrified onlookers during an annual airshow.
Chris Darnell, 40, was racing behind the wheel of the Shockwave Jet Truck during the Battle Creek Field of Light Air Show and Balloon Festival before a sudden explosion enveloped the vehicle, careening it into a roll as a plume of smoke trailed behind, according to Battle Creek Police.
Video of the tragic event captured two prop planes performing aerial tricks and flying low above the truck while it raced along a runway at the Battle Creek Executive Airport when the accident happened.
The Michigan government’s website noted that the event features “pyro and the WALL OF FIRE.”
Darnell’s father, Neal Darnell, blamed mechanical failure for the accident in a Facebook post.
“We are so sad,” Darnell said in the post. “Just one month ago Chris turned 40. 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.”
“The truck was created by the late Les Shockley, said to be the pioneer of jet trucks, and operated by the Darnell’s since 2012, according to the International Council of Air Shows. The vehicle is based on a 1985 Peterbilt and powered by three J-34 jet engines, according to the council,” NBC News reported.