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Jet truck driver dies in fiery explosion at Michigan air show – ‘Living the dream’

The driver behind the wheel of a truck powered by jet engines died Saturday while racing two airplanes at a Michigan air show.

Chris Darnell, 40, was demonstrating his truck, which can go more than 300 mph, at the Battle Creek Field of Flight Air Show and Balloon Festival Saturday when he crashed, according to the Battle Creek Police Department.

Video from the scene shows the Shockwave Jet Truck, with flames shooting out of the back, speeding down the runway at Battle Creek Executive Airport before crossing through a massive fireball. When the car emerges on the other side, it begins flipping and pieces fly through the air.

“Just one month ago Chris turned 40,” his father, Neal Darnell, wrote on Facebook. “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.”

The air show continued as scheduled Sunday but has been dedicated to Darnell. More than $2,000 has been raised for his family so far.

“Words cannot describe the heartbreak we are experiencing,” the Battle Creek Field of Flight board members and volunteers said in a joint statement Sunday.

“The Darnells have been a part of our event numerous times over the years and our hearts have been with them since the incident occurred.”

According to his Shockwave biography, Darnell had “been involved in motorsports his entire life.”

The cause of the accident is still under investigation, the Battle Creek Police Department said.

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