Thunderbirds pilot hurt in crash not listed at area hospital

An Air Force Thunderbird pilot hospitalized after he was freed from an overturned, two-seat F-16D fighter June 23 at Dayton International Airport was not listed as a patient at Miami Valley Hospital today, a spokeswoman said.

Capt. Erik Gonsalves, the team’s narrator and advance pilot, suffered lacerations and leg injuries after the jet went off a runway and flipped over in a grassy area, trapping the pilot for about an hour and a half, authorities have said.

A back-seat passenger, Tech. Sgt. Kenneth Cordova, did not sustain visible injuries, authorities have said. He was treated and released from the hospital.

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Additional information was not immediately available Wednesday.

The two team members were on a “familiarization flight” when the mishap occurred, authorities have said.

The incident caused the Thunderbirds to cancel a team appearance at the Vectren Dayton Air Show on June 24-25 at the airport.

An Air Force accident and safety investigation board was reviewing what happened to determine the cause of the crash.

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The Thunderbirds fly six jets in a demonstration and have since resumed performing aerobatics at air shows.

Gonsalves flew the No. 8 jet, one of two spares brought to a show site and also fly VIPs and local media representatives.

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