Two Firefighters Die as Plane Goes Down While Surveying Wildfire

FILE - In this May 5, 2016, file photo, a Boeing 747-400 Global SuperTanker drops half a load of its 19,400-gallon capacity during a ceremony at Colorado Springs, Colo. The world’s largest firefighting plane has been shut down just as Western states prepare for a wildfire season that fire officials fear could be worse than the average year. Tara Lee, a spokeswoman for Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, said via email Friday, April 23, 2021, that the state’s Department of Natural Resources was alerted to the shutdown of the worlds’ largest firefighting plane called the Global SuperTanker.(Christian Murdock/The Gazette via AP, File)

WIKIEUP, Ariz. (AP) – Two firefighters died Saturday after a aircraft they were in to respond to a wildfire crashed in Mohave County, Arizona, local media reported.

The Arizona Bureau of Land Management told KPHO-TV that the aircraft helping perform aerial reconnaissance and command and control over the Cedar Basin Fire burning near Wikieup, a tiny community of about 100, crashed around noon.

The two crew members on board did not survive, officials told KPHO and the Arizona Republic.

The plane performing aerial reconnaissance helps direct aviation resources responding to a wildfire, said Dolores Garcia, a spokesperson for the bureau, told the Republic.

Garcia said these firefighters are one of the earliest personnel responding to a wildfire.

The lightning-caused Cedar Basin Fire has burned 300 acres (121 hectares). The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the crash.

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