Pilot killed in air tanker crash
FALLON – One of eight air tankers fighting a wildland fire 45 miles northeast of Fallon crashed Thursday afternoon, killing the pilot, the Bureau of Land Management reported Thursday.
Kai Olsen, center manager for the Central Nevada Interagency Fire Dispatch, said the plane was a converted one-seat crop duster used for fire suppression.
According to Mark Struble, BLM fire information officer, the pilot died in Lovelock after being flown there by helicopter.
The aircraft, an Air Tractor 802, is owned by Minuteman Aviation.
The BLM is not releasing the name of the pilot pending notification of next of kin.
The plane crashed approximately 3:50 p.m. by the north end of the Clan Alpine Range.
A care flight helicopter from Lovelock and the Longhorns Search and Rescue from Naval Air Station were dispatched to the scene.
The tanker is based out of McDermitt but was assigned to the BLM’s Battle Mountain District’s air tanker operations.
The Hoyt Fire has burned approximately 600 acres. The terrain consists of pinyon-juniper trees, sagebrush and grass. Approximately 90 firefighters are on the scene. In addition to the air tankers, two helicopters, three engines and a water tender have been assigned to the fire.
The BLM said the fire is in a remote area east of Dixie Valley, about 20 miles north of U.S. Highway 50. No structures are threatened. Other threats aer to the habitat for wild horses and a variety of wildlife.
The fire was first reported this morning at 9:15 a.m.