Chris Darnell Dies After Crashing In His 350 MPH Jet-Engine Propelled Truck At Airshow

Chris Darnell, driver of the SHOCKWAVE Jet Truck, died last Saturday, July 2 after an accident during a demonstration at an airshow in Battle Creek, Michigan. The custom-built race truck features a trio of jet engines that together create some 21,000 pounds of force. Mr. Darnell was the only individual hurt in the crash and authorities are still trying to determine the exact nature and cause of the accident.

The Darnell family has been involved in high-speed driving for more than a decade. Back in 2005, Chris’s father Neal Darnell set a top speed world record with his Flash Fire Jet Truck which went 375 mph (603 km/h) at Tyndall Air Force base in Florida. That record still stands today. That passion fed into Chris’s love for motorsports, a passion he had since childhood.

During his career, he competed in circle track and drag racing before sharing driving duties with his father behind the wheel of the family’s Jet Trucks. Saturday’s incident, at the Battle Creek Field of Flight Air Show and Balloon Festival in Battle Creek, took place as Darnell was racing two airplanes down the runway at full throttle. Near the end of the runway, he deployed his drag chute as flames engulfed the vehicle before it tumbled and broke apart.

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Videos from the event don’t show any particular failure and Battle Creek PD is continuing its investigation into what caused the crash. Neal posted a short message on the Shockwave Jet Truck Facebook page with more information and blamed a mechanical failure on the vehicle.

“During today’s SHOCKWAVE Jet Truck performance at the Battlecreek Field of Flight Airshow an accident occurred as a result of a mechanical failure on the Jet Truck. Regretfully Chris Darnell the driver and my youngest son passed away from his injuries at approximately 1:01 pm.

“We are so sad. Just one month ago Chris turned 40. He was so well loved by everyone who knew him. Chris so loved the Air Show business. He was “Living the Dream“ as he said.”

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