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Hunter Hayes Witnesses Fatal Blue Angels Crash Near Nashville

A horrifying accident unfolded right in front of Hunter Hayes‘ eyes on Thursday (June 2), when a pilot with the U.S. Navy Blue Angels crashed his plane during a test flight gone horribly wrong.

Hayes is scheduled to fly with the Blue Angels on Friday (June 3). The Angels are set to perform a show over the weekend at the airport in the town of Smyrna, Tenn., near Nashville, and Hayes was on hand Thursday afternoon to watch them practice the demonstration. As Nashville news station WKRN reports, what began as a practice flight turned fatal.

Paula Payne witnessed the crash, and she tells WKRN that the jet sounded louder than normal right before the crash.

“I looked out the window and heard the planes maneuvering again,” Payne says. “I looked out the window and saw one straight out here come down, hit the ground, and explode.”

Another witness named Becca Burgess had been hearing the jets all day, and she noticed one of them was flying unusually low.

“I looked up and saw it coming down and I thought maybe they were doing dips … Then I saw a huge ball of orange fire, and I’m like, ‘Oh my god, he’s crashed,’” she states.

Hayes’ publicist tells WKRN that the accident took place right in front of them, but the singer was not injured. The pilot, USMC Capt. Jeff Kuss, was killed in the crash. Hayes posted to Twitter Thursday night, calling the accident “devastating.”

More than a thousand people were left without power after the plane clipped some power lines during the crash. The Federal Aviation Administration and U.S. military are investigating the crash, but no further details are currently available. It is unclear whether the accident will affect the upcoming show the Blue Angels have scheduled.

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