UTAH (ABC4) – A stunt driver who performed at the Warriors Over the Wasatch Airshow at Hill Air Force Base two weeks ago has died while performing at a Michigan airshow over the weekend.
Chris Darnell, 40, the driver of the Shockwave Jet Truck suffered fatal injuries while performing at the Battle Creek Field of Flight Airshow in Battle Creek, Mich. on Saturday, July 2.
Organizers say Darnell experienced a mechanical failure on the jet truck during a high-octane performance.
“Regretfully Chris Darnell, the driver and my youngest son, passed away from his injuries at approximately 1:01 p.m.,” said Chris’ father, Neal in a Facebook post. “We are so sad. 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 Air Force Thunderbirds released a statement saying:
“We are saddened to hear about the loss of our close friend, and fellow demo performer, today in a tragic mishap during the Field of Flight Air Show in Battle Creek, Michigan. Chris Darnell, the driver of the SHOCKWAVE Jet Truck, has been performing alongside us for many years and has been a staple of the Air Show community. His love for motorsports and passion for his craft always inspired us and those around him. The collective hearts of the U. S. Air Force Thunderbirds are with Chris, his family, his friends, and his entire demonstration team at this time.”
As the air show operations for the Battle Creek Field of Flight Airshow continues on Monday, organizers have dedicated the show to Chris’ memory.
“Today we resumed air show operations for the Battle Creek Field of Flight Airshow and dedicated our show to our friend and colleague, Chris Darnell, who dedicated his life to this community. Chris and his SHOCKWAVE Jet Truck brought smiles and joy to millions of fans around the country. Though the truck was loud, Chris’ passion and commitment to inspiring those around him was louder.”
Chirs’ father, Neal, says funeral arrangements for his son will be announced in the coming days.