Air Tanker Crashes While Working the Burnside Fire Near Lake Tahoe

Tanker 09, a P2V firefighting aircraft owned by Neptune Aviation Services in Missoula Montana crashed yesterday, claiming the lives of the three crew members. The Reno Gazette Journal has the story.

“The plane was identified as a twin-engine, Lockheed P2V air tanker that was fighting the Hope Valley Fire south of Lake Tahoe. The plane was fully loaded with fuel and fire retardant and was owned by Neptune Aviation Services of Missoula, Mont., Reno fire officials were told.
“They had been working earlier in the day and were going back for one more drop,” said Steve Frady, Reno Fire Department spokesman.
Crash debris was scattered over five acres, and the fire from the crash up to two acres. Smoke could be seen from several miles away in Reno following a report of an explosion in the area….”

Update: The names of the three crew members who died in the crash; link

Calvin Gene Wahlstrom, 61 of Hunstville, Utah
Gregory Gonsioroski, 41 of Baker, Montana
Zachary Jake Vander-Griend, 25 of Missoula Montana.

Our sincerest condolences to the families of the fallen.

Here is a video that included a look at Tanker 09 after a day of working fires in Southern California last year.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Jp5NLBPPWU&hl=en&fs=1]

For a closer look at the aircraft from one year ago click here.

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Mike Morales

Retired Cal Fire/CDF Fire Captain

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