Air tanker rolled before fatal crash near Kruger Rock Fire: NTSB report

ESTES PARK, Colorado (KDVR) – Federal Aviation Investigators Wednesday released a preliminary report of the fatal air tanker crash near the Kruger Rock fire.

On November 16, pilot March Thor Olson flew the tanker from Fort Collins to fight the fire, which triggered under strong winds and low humidity. The single-engine aircraft, an Air Tractor 802A, crashed around 1 p.m. 18.30 on his second firefighting.

In the report, the National Transportation Safety Board shared testimonies from moments before the plane crash.

“Video of the plane showed the wings of the plane rocking as it approached the intended drop-off point for firefighting from the air by the Kruger Rock fire,” the NTSB wrote in the report. “Two witnesses stated that they saw the plane roll upside down and did not see it fall into the terrain. One of the witnesses, who was in radio communication with the pilot, stated that he did not hear the pilot send any problems with the plane or make any emergency calls before the accident. “

Investigators found the wreck “was upright and exhibited features of a low-velocity impact with the nose down with slower and wooded terrain” and without scarring in front of it.

The NTSB said it kept the wreck “for further investigation.”

CO Fire Aviation owned the aircraft. The company has aircraft equipped with night-vision technology to help see through smoke and clouds during firefights – a tool new to Colorado.

Larimer County has said it asked the company for help in attacking the fire that night when ground conditions were too dangerous for the crews. After a successful race, the pilot returned a second and reportedly said conditions were not ideal for another fall, according to the county.

Moments later, he crashed.

The NTSB will issue a final report at a later date.


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