Thunderbirds shows canceled after pilot forced to ditch

(A Thunderbird went down in a grassy area in southern Colorado Springs Thursday afternoon. / Ed Wrany via

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Upcoming Thunderbirds shows are being canceled after a pilot was forced to ditch his plane shortly after a flyover at the Air Force Academy’s commencement ceremony, where President Barack Obama was speaking.

Officials say they are canceling the shows while they investigate Thursday’s crash, but they didn’t say how long the team will be grounded. The pilot safely ejected.

The Thunderbirds are scheduled to appear June 11 and 12 at the Rhode Island National Guard Open House Air Show at Quonset State Airport in North Kingstown.

Lt. Col. Peter Parente of the Rhode Island National Guard said they have not been formally notified that the appearance is canceled, and they are awaiting more information from the Thunderbirds.

The Thunderbirds’ other upcoming shows are scheduled in New Mexico, Maryland and Utah.

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