U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds. CONTRIBUTED

Thunderbirds investigation continues into Dayton crash

Nearly two months following a crash by one of its Thunderbirds pilots, the Air Force continues its investigation into the incident at the Vectren Dayton Air Show, a spokesman said today.

Capt. Erik Gonsalves, a team narrator, was injured in the F-16D fighter jet that ran off a runway and overturned at Dayton International Airport on June 23.

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Gonsalves and a back seat passenger, Tech. Sgt. Kenneth Cordova, were trapped in the two-seat jet after it flipped over in a grassy area when the plane returned from a “familiarization flight.” It took rescue workers about an hour and a half to free the pilot and nearly two hours to get the passenger out of the jet, authorities have said.

Gonsalves, who suffered lacerations and leg injuries, was at Miami Valley Hospital for several days before his release. Authorities have not disclosed the day he left the hospital. Wright-Patterson spokesman Daryl Mayer has said the pilot returned to the Thunderbirds home station at Nellis Air Force Base in Las Vegas, Nevada.

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ordova, who did not have any visible injuries, was treated at a hospital and released, authorities have said.

The Thunderbirds, which fly six jets in aerobatic formations, canceled June 24-25 appearances at the Vectren Dayton Air Show after the mishap.

The team has since resumed performances. A spokesman could not give a time when the investigation would be completed.

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