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Two US military aerobatic planes crash separately, one dead

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WASHINGTON: Two US military aerobatic planes crashed Thursday in separate incidents, one occurring shortly after flying over a speech by President Barack Obama and the other resulting in a death.

A plane from the US Air Force’s elite Thunderbird team crashed in the state of Colorado shortly after performing at a graduation ceremony for the US Air Force Academy, where Obama addressed the audience, an official said.

The pilot ejected safely from the aircraft and was unharmed, according to the Air Force official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Following the incident, Obama met with the pilot at nearby Peterson Air Force Base and expressed relief that the pilot was not injured, before heading back to Washington aboard Air Force One.

Later in the day a F/A-18 aircraft from the US Navy’s Blue Angels aerobatics team crashed as it “was taking off to start the afternoon practice” at the airport in Smyrna, Tennessee, according to a statement from the Naval Air Forces.

“The pilot died from injuries sustained during the crash,” it said, adding that the other five jets at the scene were not involved and landed safely.

Both the Air Force and Navy said investigations are underway.

The Blue Angels will not perform in an airshow that had been scheduled for this weekend, the Navy said.

Obama used his graduation speech at the US Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs to defend his approach to the Syrian conflict, warning against allowing the United States to become drawn into a new civil war in the Middle East.

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