27 Deaths in Air Tanker Crashes Since 1991

RENO - Following is a list of fatal crashes involving airtankers that either currently were on contract or recently had been on contract for the U.S. Forest Service fighting fires at the time of the crash.

The date of the crash is followed by the contractor, type of aircraft, location of crash, FAA-registered tail number, NTSB accident indentification number, number of fatalities and the names of the victims, when available.

An Internet link to the NTSB accident report summaries follows each crash entry. Crashes prior to 1995 have only preliminary reports. Some summaries have additional links to the entire reports.

Source: Forest Service, National Transportation Safety Board, Federal Aviation Administration, Associated Airtanker Pilots.


  • Oct. 16, 1991 - Aero Union Corp. of Chico, Calif., P-3A, crasehd
    near Florence, Mont., FAA Tail #N924AU; NTSB Accident No.
    SEA92T#A01; two killed; John Sieglinger, Robert Shaw.

  • Oct. 1, 1992 - Butler Aircraft of Redmond, Ore., DC-7B, crashed
    near Kyburz, Calif., FAA Tail #N848D; NTSB No. LAX93T#A01, two
    killed; Chuck Sheridan, Leonard Martin.

  • July 29, 1994 - Neptune Aviation of Missoula, Mont., P2V-7,
    crashed near Missoula, Mont., FAA Tail #N918AP; NTSB No.
    SEA94T#A02; two killed; Bob Kelly, Randy Lynn.

  • Aug. 13, 1994 - Hemet Valley Flying Service of Hemet, Calif.,
    C-130A, crashed near Pearblossom, Calif.; FAA Tail #N135FF, NTSB
    No. LAX94FA323; three killed; Bob Buc, Joe Johnson, Shawn Zaremba.

  • June 21, 1995 - Aero Union Corp., C54G airtanker, collided with
    Forest Service's Beechcraft Model 58P lead plane near Ramona,
    Calif.; FAA Tail #N4989P; NTSB No. LAX95GA219A; three killed; Gary
    Cockrell, Lisa Nitch, Michael Smith.

  • June 27, 1998 - Neptune Aviation, P2V-7, crashed near Reserve,
    N.M., FAA Tail #N14835; NTSB #FTW98GA286; two killed; Jerry David
    Donahue, Charles Key.

  • June 17, 2002 - Hawkins & Powers of Greybull, Wyo., C-130A,
    crashed near Walker, Calif., N130HP; NTSB No. LAX02GA201; three
    killed; Steve Wass, Craig LaBare, Mike Davis.

  • July 18, 2002 - Hawkins & Powers, PB4Y-2, crashed near Estes
    Park, Colo., FAA Tail #N7620C; NTSB #DEN02GA074; two killed; Rick
    Schwartz, Milt Stollak.

  • Oct. 3, 2003 - Minden Air Corp. of Minden, Nev., P2V, crashed
    near East Highlands, Calif., FAA Tail #N299MA; NTSB No. LAX04FA002;
    two killed; Carl Dobeare, John Attardo.

  • April 20, 2005 - Aero Union, P-3B, crashed near Chico, Calif.,
    FAA Tail #N926AU; NTSB No. SEA05MA085; three killed; Tom Lynch,
    Paul Cockrell, Brian Bruns.

  • Sept. 1, 2008 - Neptune Aviation, P2V-7, crashed just north of
    Reno, Nev., FAA Tail #N4235T; three killed; names withheld pending
    notification of next of kin.

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National Transportation Safety Board: www.ntsb.gov
Federal Aviation Administration: www.faa.gov
U.S. Forest Service: www.usfs.gov
Associated Airtanker Pilots: www.airtanker.org

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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