Pilot dies fighting California wildfire

The pilot of an air tanker battling a wildfire in Yosemite
National Park in California has died after the plane crashed
into a canyon wall on Tuesday.
The unnamed man was said to be attempting to lay down
fire retardant to limit the spread of the blaze.
Rescue crews later found the wreckage and confirmed the
pilot’s death.
The National Transportation Safety Board will head an
investigation into the cause of the crash, which has yet to be
“I heard a large explosion, I looked up on the steep canyon
wall and saw aircraft debris was actually raining down the
side of the mountain after the impact,” California Highway
Patrol Sergeant Chris Michael told the Associated Press news
“It appeared from the direction he was going, he was trying
to make a drop down the side of the canyon when he hit the
canyon wall.”
The missing pilot is said to be an employee of contractor
DynCorp., which provides pilots for all California
Department of Forestry and Fire Protection’s planes.
In 2001, two agency air tankers collided while fighting a fire
in Mendocino County, killing two pilots. In 2006, a pilot and
a fire battalion chief were killed while flying over a fire in
Tulare County.
“[Tuesday’s] crash underscores just how inherently
dangerous wildland fire fighting is,” agency director Chief
Ken Pimlott wrote in a statement.

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