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Idaho Air Show: Dan Buchanan, Veteran Hang Glider Pilot, Killed In Crash

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The Royal Canadian Air Force Snowbirds perform as part of a Memorial Day event on Long Island, New York, May 26, 2018. Photo: REUTERS/Johnny Milano

By Vaishnavi Vaidyanathan, International Business Times

A hang glider veteran died following a crash at an air show at a United States Air Force base in southwestern Idaho on Saturday. The accident took place during the Gunfighter Skies Air & Space Celebration at the Mountain Home Air Force Base.

The pilot, 62-year-old Dan Buchanan, was flown by air ambulance to a nearby local hospital but died of injuries later on, Mountain Home Air Force Base said, according to Idaho News.

Though Saturday’s events were cancelled following the incident, the 366th Fighter Wing said the second day of the show will be as per schedule Sunday with first event starting at 10.30 a.m. (EDT).

“The air show will continue tomorrow in honor of our dear friend Dan Buchanan, and all the support he has provided for our air shows. There will be a tribute to Dan and an opportunity to memorialize him at the show,” official account of the Mountain Home Air Force Base tweeted.

Sunday’s show will be dedicated to the pilot who is a resident of Nevada. He was survived by a son and a brother.

Buchanan has been performing at the event for the past 36 years, Col. Joseph Kunkel said, calling him a hero and a friend.

"Mountain Home Air Force Base is continuing to respond to this and they way we're doing that is we're providing support to Dan his family his friends and frankly the community that was here at the airshow today,” Kunkel added, stating he was proud of the first responders' efforts.

Tom Maxwell, a witness, said he saw the pilot making steep drops trying to get to the ground and then he went down.

“We didn't realize what was happening and then he went down, we continue to pray for him and his family," he said.

A team has been sent to investigate the crash by The National Transportation Safety Board.

It was too early to say what caused the accident, Kunkel said, adding he couldn’t imagine something like this happening at the event.

“Hang glider impacted hard on west side of the air base, EMS and ARFF still working on extrication and patient care, medevac from Boise has been started,” Boise photographer Bernie Deyo tweeted immediately after the incident.

The tow line was not clipped but intentionally released as part of the act, another witness told Idaho Statesman.

“He did a whole bunch of acrobatics that were intentional and then as he was coming in to land, it looked like he caught a crosswind and it flipped him upside-down and shot the nose into the ground," the witness said.

According to his website, Dan Buchanan — a licensed private and commercial pilot — had suffered spinal injury while landing a hang glider in bad weather in 1981 but returned to flying within the next six months and has taken part in more than 25 air shows.

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U.S. - U.S. Daily News: Idaho Air Show: Dan Buchanan, Veteran Hang Glider Pilot, Killed In Crash
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