Thunderbirds Jet Crashes After Flyover of Air Force Academy Graduation

  • The Thunderbirds aircraft that crashed in a field near the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado. (Photo courtesy Cece Beynon.)
    The Thunderbirds aircraft that crashed in a field near the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado. (Photo courtesy Cece Beynon.)
  • The U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds pilot whose F-16 crashed after a fly over of the Air Force Academy commencement is seen parachuting to the ground on June 2, 2016. (Photo courtesy Ashley Vazquez)
    The U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds pilot whose F-16 crashed after a fly over of the Air Force Academy commencement is seen parachuting to the ground on June 2, 2016. (Photo courtesy Ashley Vazquez)
  • A helicopter approaches to land near a U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds F-16 that crashed after a flyover of the Air Force Academy commencement on June 2, 2016. (Photo courtesy CeCe Beynon)
    A helicopter approaches to land near a U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds F-16 that crashed after a flyover of the Air Force Academy commencement on June 2, 2016. (Photo courtesy CeCe Beynon)

A U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds demonstration jet crashed near Colorado Springs after flying over an Air Force Academy commencement attended by President Barack Obama, according to the White House and photographs of the scene.

The F-16 Fighting Falcon made by Lockheed Martin Corp. crashed around 1 p.m. in a field south of the city and near Peterson Air Force Base, according to official statements and photographs submitted to Military.com.

The photos depict the iconic single-engine aircraft seemingly intact on a field, a pilot parachuting to the ground and a military utility helicopter flying to the scene. The pilot  was in good condition afterward.

"The pilot of the #6 jet ejected safely and is walking around unhurt," Air Combat Command said in a Tweet. "More details will be released as they become available."

Obama was still present at the ceremony at the time of the crash, though he made a point to visit the pilot afterward.

"Upon arrival at Peterson Air Force Base, the President visited briefly with the Thunderbird pilot whose aircraft crashed earlier today," according to a statement by Press Secretary Josh Earnest.

"The President thanked the pilot for his service to the country and expressed his relief that the pilot was not seriously injured. The President also thanked the first responders who acted quickly to tend to the pilot."

The accident occurred the same day a U.S. Navy Blue Angels F/A-18 Hornet reportedly crashed in Tennessee while practicing for an airshow this weekend in Smyrna.

--Amy Bushatz and Hope Hodge Seck contributed to this report.

--Brendan McGarry can be reached at brendan.mcgarry@military.com. Follow him on Twitter at @Brendan_McGarry.

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