Air Force F-16 Thunderbird Crashes Near Colorado Springs, Pilot Ejects Safely

iStock/Thinkstock(COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo.) — A U.S. Air Force Thunderbird F-16 crashed just outside Petersen Air Force Base in Colorado Springs shortly after performing a flyover at the nearby Air Force Academy graduation, where President Obama was in attendance, the Air Force tells ABC News.

U.S. Air Force Academy cadets toss their hats in the air upon graduating as Air Force Thunderbirds fly overhead.

— ABC News (@ABC) June 2, 2016

The crash occurred five nautical miles south of Petersen Air Force Base where the team had flown from to participate in the flyover. The Air Force is investigating the incident.

President Obama met with the pilot afterwards at Petersen Air Force Base and thanked him for his service, the White House said. He expressed relief the pilot was not seriously injured, and thanked the first responders who treated him.

According to White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest, a military helicopter that was supporting the Secret Service’s protection during President Obama’s visit recovered Turner after he ejected from the plane.

The aircraft took off from the Air Force Academy towards the pilot after receiving word of the crash. Temporarily assigned to support the Secret Service for the Presidential visit the helicopter and crew normally are assigned to search and rescue operations.

An Emergency Medical Technician and a Secret Service agent on board evaluated Turner and brought him to first responders along the route to the airport.

The helicopter then resumed its mission providing security for the President’s motorcade.

In a bizarre coincidence the crash occurred an hour before the fatal crash of a fighter belonging to the Navy’s Blue Angels near Smyrna, Tennessee.

Navy officials confirm that the pilot of the F/A-18 was killed in the crash apparently unable to eject shortly after the plane had taken off.

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