It's always amazing to watch military aerobatics teams perform death defying maneuvers with razor sharp precision. But those tight formations are dangerous as hell, so one little mistake can mean disaster.
On March 11, 1988, the Royal Australian Air Force's aerobatics team, the Roulettes, experienced a little hiccup that quickly turned into a full blown emergency while they were practicing for the Canberra Air Show. The pilot of Roulette 1 apparently zigged when he should have zagged, and crashed into Roulette 4 mid-flight.
The crash was hairy, but the hand of fate was kind that day. None of the other planes in the formation were hit by flying parts. Roulette 1's pilot managed a belly landing on a field. Roulette 4 was so badly damaged, its pilot had to eject. But he landed safely, and his plane crashed in a field, missing a farm house by 600 meters. It could have been much worse.
Phew! And the bonus in all of this is that there was a cameraman aboard one of the other planes. So today, we have documentation of what a mid air crash looks like from inside a formation.
(Hat tip to ttyymmnn!