NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – It will likely be months before we know exactly what happened last Thursday when Blue Angel No. 6 tumbled out of the sky crashing into a field near the Smyrna airport.
Captain Jeff Kuss died in the accident. For those who knew him best, there are the tears of loss and smiles for the man who flew so high.
Eyes went skyward that fateful day as the Blue Angels flew over downtown Nashville in a practice run for the upcoming airshow.
Just hours later, tragedy struck.
During another practice run, something happened, and jet No. 6 lost power, spiraling to the ground.
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The debris field remains cordoned off as the investigation of the crash and collection of debris will take time.
The body of Capt. Kuss was flown to Dover, Delaware. Funeral arrangements are still not finalized.
Tears flow from his wife and young children, parents and friends.
But there is also pride and smiles for the man who strove to be a marine, graduate Topgun, serve overseas, aim high, and reach that goal.
A professor at Fort Lewis College described him as a standout student.
“It’s a big loss to our community,” said Dr. Stephanie Owings-Edwards. “I had hoped to get Jeff to sign a picture this fall so I could put it up in my office, so I could tell people the Jeff story to inspire them to be as aggressive about achieving what was possible.”
And for Jeff’s parents, Janet and Michael, there is no deeper wound than losing a child, but there is pride in a son who had a zest for life.
“When they were home for Christmas, we hiked up to a canyon in a blizzard. It was miserable out, and he was loving every second of the mountains, the snow,” said Michael Kuss.
Michael and Janet Kuss are in Pensacola, Florida, with their daughter-in-law Christina and two young grandchildren.
Family members in Colorado set up a GoFundMe for Kuss’ wife and two children.Click here to donate.
On that GoFundMe, the captain’s wife Christian said Monday, “I am absolutely beside myself and humbled at the amount of love and support I have received over the last 4 days. This morning I feel a shred of peace, and though I know it won’t stay, I attribute it to the amazing things all of you are doing for myself, my children and to honor Jeffery. I feel you all deeply and want to say thank you from the bottom of my heart.”
Michael Kuss said he expects his son’s body to be returned to Durango, Colorado, late in the week.
News 2 also learned Monday that the Great Tennessee Airshow will donate $12,000 to the Captain Jeff Kuss Family Fund.