2014-10-09 / Front Page

Firefighting aircraft 'may have struck tree'

CAL FIRE airtanker No. 81 crashed near El Portal on Oct. 7, killing pilot Geoffrey Hunt. The aircraft made drops on the Bridgeport Fire in July, seen here. (Erik Skindrud | The GAZETTE)CAL FIRE airtanker No. 81 crashed near El Portal on Oct. 7, killing pilot Geoffrey Hunt. The aircraft made drops on the Bridgeport Fire in July, seen here. (Erik Skindrud | The GAZETTE)Wednesday, Oct. 15, 2014 - 11:05 a.m. - The CAL FIRE aircraft that crashed while attacking the Dog Rock Fire on Oct. 7 "may have struck a tree with its wing," a preliminary National Transportation Safety Board report stated today.

The crew of a controller aircraft witnessed the contact with the tree, the report stated. Investigators later confirmed that a wing "separated from the airplane."

"The airplane was registered to and operated by CAL FIRE under contract to the National Park Service" at the time of the incident, the report also stated.

While the report was released today, CAL FIRE cleared its remaining 22 S-2T airtankers to fly last weekend.

A full report is expected sometime over the next year.

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considering the pic of

considering the pic of Facebook showed the plane missing one wing prior to impact I would say that is correct, but those picts have been in social media for a solid week

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