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Two dead in crash of plane fighting Nevada wildfire


There’s no indication yet of what went wrong when a Lockheed P-2V air tanker crashed in rugged terrain on the Nevada-Utah border while dumping a load of fire retardant on a wildfire Sunday. Both pilots died in the crash of the plane, which was contracted from a Montana wildfire equipment company to fight fires for the U.S. Forest Service. The plane was flying in VFR conditions but the fire had a large fuel load of dry shrubs and grasses, and conditions were hot and windy. One of the pilots had been flying aerial firefighting missions for 17 years; information on the other pilot’s experience wasn’t immediately available. Also on Sunday in a separate accident near Reno, a P-2V tanker had trouble lowering its landing gear. After circling for about 90 minutes, the plane made an emergency landing at the Minden-Tahoe Airport, sliding off the runway and sustaining extensive damage. Video appeared to show the plane landing with its left main landing gear at least partially retracted. Both members of the crew were uninjured. The pair of accidents comes weeks after politicians called once again for a review of the aging fleet of aircraft the Forest Service relies on to fight wildfires.  The P-2V air tankers commonly used to drop water and retardant on wildfires date from the 1950s and are nearing the end of their useful lives.