Surviving Minden Air tanker inspected after crash landing |

Surviving Minden Air tanker inspected after crash landing

Kurt Hildebrand

MINDEN, Nev. – The landing gear of Minden Air’s surviving Lockheed Neptune P2V air tanker were ordered inspected on Monday after a crash landing at Minden-Tahoe Airport on Sunday.

U.S. Forest Service Public Affairs Specialist Jennifer Jones said Tanker 48 wasn’t flying on Monday after officials required the inspection.

At about 1:50 p.m., personnel from the East Fork Fire and Paramedic Districts and Douglas County Sheriff’s Office responded to the Minden-Tahoe Airport for a report that inbound firefighting aircraft Tanker 55 was unable to lower one of its port landing gear.

The pilot of the plane circled the airport for about 90 minutes to burn off fuel before attempting an emergency landing. The plane landed on a cleared runway at about 3:30 p.m.

Due to the malfunction with the landing gear, the plane slid off the main runway. No injuries were reported by the two-person crew, however the plane sustained significant damage.

The National Transportation Safety Board will be conducting an investigation into the crash landing of Tanker 55.

Jones said the U.S. Forest Service now has nine heavy tankers under contract after the loss of Tanker 55, and a fatal crash of another Neptune near Caliente.

Not an hour before rescuers received the call about Tanker 55’s landing gear a heavy tanker fighting a 5,000-acre fire on the Nevada-Utah border crashed in the Hamblin Valley area of western Utah, killing both crew members.

According to the Iron County, Utah, Sheriff’s Office, the crew members were Boise, Idaho, residents Todd Neal Tompkins and Ronnie Edwin Chambless.

The tanker was owned by Neptune Aviation out of Missoula, Mont.

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