Food poisoning grounds the Blue Angels at Capital Airshow

The U.S. Navy Blue Angels team
The U.S. Navy Blue Angels team Miami Herald file

The Blue Angels flight team abruptly canceled its performance Saturday afternoon at the California Capital Airshow at Mather Airport after the squadron’s commanding officer came down with a form of food poisoning.

Air show officials announced the cancellation after determining that Cmdr. Ryan Bernacchi “contracted a food-borne ailment and is under the medical supervision of the team’s flight surgeon.”

“Cmdr. Bernacchi will be re-evaluated regularly, as the team is hopeful he will be ready to fly for the final day of the air show,” a statement from organizers stated. “At this time, the Blue Angels are scheduled to perform on Sunday as planned.”

Organizers said people who attended Saturday’s show can have their tickets honored for general admission for Sunday’s show, and parking passes will be honored with proof of purchase from Saturday or a parking stub.

The Blue Angels are the U.S. Navy’s flight demonstration squadron and stars of the two-day event at Mather, which last year drew more than 109,000 attendees to the event at the former Mather Air Force Base.

“Disappointed we won’t be flying today, but looking forward to meeting great fans at crowd line and we are planning on flying tomorrow,” the team said in a tweet Saturday.

Members of the squadron were among Capital Airshow performers who participated in a Friday night “block party” in midtown where fans were able to meet air show pilots, the Sacramento Kings Dancers and take part in other entertainment.

Up until about 3 p.m. Saturday, there were no indications of problems. Before noon, the Blue Angels’ Twitter account indicated all systems were go: “Happy October, Fans! Today, we turned up and inspected the jets, making sure they were good to go for today’s California Capital Airshow.”

But word that illness had grounded the team led to fans expressing their disappointment on social media, and to a number of suppositions about the origins.

“No more gas station sushi!” one follower tweeted.

“The Blue Angels ordered the same room service as Kobe,” another wrote in a wry reference to Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant’s bout with food poisoning while in Sacramento for a 2002 playoff game with the Sacramento Kings.

Guests are invited to drive a SEAL rescue mission in Navy virtual reality simulator at California Capital Airshow.

Sam Stanton: 916-321-1091, @StantonSam

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