LODD, Two Pilots Killed In Tanker Crash In Utah

AP via Yahoo! News RENO, Nev. (AP) — A firefighting aircraft crashed into rugged terrain near the Utah-Nevada border as it dropped retardant on a 5,000-acre wildfire, killing the two people aboard. The air tanker went down Sunday afternoon in the Hamblin Valley area of western Utah, Bureau of Land Management officials said.
The two pilots were fighting the White Rock Fire, which began burning Friday night after a lightning strike in eastern Nevada. The fire spread across the Utah line Saturday night, but most of the blaze remained in Nevada, about 150 miles northeast of Las Vegas.

KCSG.com reports  the aircraft pilots were Captain Todd Neal Tompkins, 48 and First Officer Ronnie Edwin Chambless, 40 both of Boise, Idaho, according to the Iron County Sheriff’s Office.

The tanker was a P2V-7 contracted by Neptune Aviation in Missoula Montana.

Tanker 11

The downed tanker is believed to be Tanker 11, one of over a half dozen P2V’s in the Neptune fleet. Neptune’s Tanker 10 was retired earlier this Spring when a crack was found on one of the wings.

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Image attribution Ned Harris, Flickr.


  • USMARoothawg says:

    I am very inexperienced when it comes to aviation and wildfire fighting, however i would like to learn more about the uses of aircraft in wildfire fighting. Are aircraft crashes a rare occurrence while fighting fire? what are the air conditions like that would cause a plane to lose control?

  • CPAT Help says:

    Great information there, I have always
    wondered the right way to go about this, thanks for showing me!.Some
    of them points are really straight forward but all too often you will over look them.

  • FireBlogger says:

    That makes it more personal Kate. Yes, a sad day for the wildland firefighting community and the fire service as a whole. 

  • bigsurkate says:

    Oh, Mike!! So sorry to hear! I have photos of #11 in 2008, I think!!