AP via Yahoo! News RENO, Nev. (AP) — A firefighting aircraft crashed into rugged terrain near the Utah-Nevada border as it dropped retardant on a 5,000-acre wildfire, killing the two people aboard. The air tanker went down Sunday afternoon in the Hamblin Valley area of western Utah, Bureau of Land Management officials said.
The two pilots were fighting the White Rock Fire, which began burning Friday night after a lightning strike in eastern Nevada. The fire spread across the Utah line Saturday night, but most of the blaze remained in Nevada, about 150 miles northeast of Las Vegas.
KCSG.com reports the aircraft pilots were Captain Todd Neal Tompkins, 48 and First Officer Ronnie Edwin Chambless, 40 both of Boise, Idaho, according to the Iron County Sheriff’s Office.
The tanker was a P2V-7 contracted by Neptune Aviation in Missoula Montana.
The downed tanker is believed to be Tanker 11, one of over a half dozen P2V’s in the Neptune fleet. Neptune’s Tanker 10 was retired earlier this Spring when a crack was found on one of the wings.
Image attribution Ned Harris, Flickr.