Names, details released from fatal firefighting airplane crash in Lincoln County

Bishop Fire photographs.
Bishop Fire photographs.(Bureau of Land Management)
Published: Jul. 30, 2020 at 5:54 PM PDT|Updated: Jul. 30, 2020 at 8:21 PM PDT
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CALIENTE, Nev. (KOLO) - AUG. 19 UPDATE: The Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office identified the two pilots killed July 30 in southeastern Nevada when their firefighting planes crashed as David Blake Haynes and Scott Thomas.

The National Transportation and Safety Board released an initial review of the crash.

It said both Air Tractor AT-802A aircraft had taken off together at about 12:25 p.m. from Mesquite, Nev., to deploy fire retardant at the Bishop Fire.

They reached their targets at about 12:55 p.m. The lead aircraft deployed its retardant. The other Air Tractor was behind it and deployed its retardant. Then the pilot of the trailing aircraft said he had retardant on his windshield and he was “initiating a go-round.” The trailing aircraft climbed, did a left turn and collided with the other aircraft. Both planes then fell to the ground.

Haynes’ obituary in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette said he was 62 years old and was living in Arkadelphia, Arkansas, at the time of his death. Funeral services were held Aug. 14.

The National Transportation and Safety Board released this image of a fatal crash at the Bishop...
The National Transportation and Safety Board released this image of a fatal crash at the Bishop Fire in southeastern Nevada.(NTSB)

JULY 30 8:05 P.M. UPDATE: The Bureau of Land Management said Thursday night that both pilots were killed in a mid-air collision while fighting the Bishop Fire 17 miles southwest of Caliente.

Recovery operations are still underway for the crash of two single-engine air tankers that happened about 12:55 p.m.

“We offer our sincere condolences to the families of the two pilots and to all those working with the BLM Nevada Ely District,” said BLM Nevada State Director Jon Raby.

ORIGINAL STORY: Two single-engine air tankers collided about 1 p.m. Thursday while fighting the 14,000-acre Bishop Fire in southeast Nevada, the Federal Aviation Administration said.

Both were Air Tractor AT8T aircraft. One person was aboard each aircraft, but the conditions of the pilots were not immediately available.

The Bishop Fire is about 17 miles southwest of Caliente in Lincoln County.

The FAA said the crash happened near the intersection of Kane Springs Road and Riggs Road.

There is 258 fire personnel on the fire, which is expected to be contained on Aug. 6. The fire is human-caused and started Wednesday about 12:15 p.m.

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