Thunderbirds pilot hurt in crash not listed at area hospital



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Thunderbirds pilot hurt in crash not listed at area hospital

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Capt. Erik Gonsalves is the Advance Pilot/Narrator for the U.S. Air Force Air Demonstration Squadron, flying the No. 8 jet for the Thunderbirds. U.S. AIR FORCE

An Air Force Thunderbird pilot hospitalized after he was freed from an overturned, two-seat F-16D fighter June 23 at Dayton International Airport was not listed as a patient at Miami Valley Hospital today, a spokeswoman said.

Capt. Erik Gonsalves, the team’s narrator and advance pilot, suffered lacerations and leg injuries after the jet went off a runway and flipped over in a grassy area, trapping the pilot for about an hour and a half, authorities have said.

A back-seat passenger, Tech. Sgt. Kenneth Cordova, did not sustain visible injuries, authorities have said. He was treated and released from the hospital.

Additional information was not immediately available Wednesday.

The two team members were on a “familiarization flight” when the mishap occurred, authorities have said.

The incident caused the Thunderbirds to cancel a team appearance at the Vectren Dayton Air Show on June 24-25 at the airport.

An Air Force accident and safety investigation board was reviewing what happened to determine the cause of the crash.

The Thunderbirds fly six jets in a demonstration and have since resumed performing aerobatics at air shows.

Gonsalves flew the No. 8 jet, one of two spares brought to a show site and also fly VIPs and local media representatives.

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