Thunderbirds resume training after fatal crash near Las Vegas - FOX5 Vegas - KVVU

Thunderbirds resume training after fatal crash near Las Vegas

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Thunderbirds resume training. (Source: U.S. Air Force) Thunderbirds resume training. (Source: U.S. Air Force)
LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -

The Air Force Thunderbirds on Tuesday resumed operations over the Nevada Test and Training Range near Las Vegas. The team had ceased training since the April 4 fatal crash in which Maj. Stephen Del Bagno was killed during a routine aerial demonstration training flight over the Nevada range.

"While our hearts are still heavy with the loss of our wingman Cajun (Del Bagno), we know he'd want us back in the air and preparing to recruit, retain and inspire once more," said Lt. Col. Kevin Walsh, who leads the Thunderbirds. "These flights will focus on maintaining our team's proficiency with the demanding maneuvers of our air demonstration. They will also strengthen our confidence following a trying two weeks for the squadron."

The Air Force continues to investigate the crash to ensure the highest level of safety in operations, Walsh said. He added the Air Force isn't ready to commit to when show performances might resume -- saying only that shows through an April 21-22 performance have been canceled. The next planned event on the team's initial schedule for 2018 was May 5-6 in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

"When we do resume our show season, we'll do so with the full faith and confidence of senior Air Force leadership that we are safe and ready to perform," Walsh said. He closed by saying, "I'd like to again thank all of our friends and fans for the unbelievable amount of love and support you've provided to Cajun's family and this squadron."

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