Pilot Killed in Air Tanker Crash Explains Mission to Help Firefighters in Final Interview

A pilot who died testing a new technology to make nighttime airdrops possible in fighting Colorado wildfires talked about his dedication to the mission.

A pilot who died testing a new technology to make nighttime airdrops possible in fighting Colorado wildfires told a news station about his dedication to the mission just moments before he took off on his fatal flight.

Fifty-nine-year-old Marc “Thor” Olson told KDVR news he was driven by a sense of duty to help the firefighting community. He believed the night mission he was pioneering would ultimately make it safer for wildland firefighters and save people living in areas affected by wildfires.

Olson was flying a one-seat air tanker that can drop up to 800 gallons of water or retardant per flight. It had been fitted with special lights and the pilot given night vision goggles to facilitate low-altitude, night flying. The flight took off shortly after 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday and crashed moments later in Estes Park, killing Olson.

Olson was a decorated Army and Air Force veteran, with more than three decades of service and more than 40 years of experience as a pilot.

Visit KDVR for more information.

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