Air tanker crashes near Fallon killing pilot

One of eight air tankers fighting a wildland fire 45 miles northeast of Fallon crashed Thursday afternoon, killing the pilot.

Mark Struble, Bureau of Land Management fire information officer, said the pilot died at Pershing County General Hospital after being flown there by helicopter. The BLM is not releasing the name of the pilot pending notification of next of kin.

The aircraft, an Air Tractor 802, is owned by Minuteman Aviation. The plane crashed approximately 3:50 p.m. near the north end of the Clan Alpine Range.

"We are greatly saddened with the loss of any firefighter," said Ron Wenker, the BLM director for Nevada. "Our heartfelt condolences go out to the family and friends of this courageous pilot."

A care flight helicopter from Lovelock and the Longhorns Search and Rescue from Naval Air Station Fallon were dispatched to the scene.

The tanker was based out of McDermitt near the Oregon border.

The Hoyt Fire has burned approximately 1,300 acres. The terrain consists of pinyon-juniper trees, sagebrush and grass. Approximately 90 firefighters are on the scene.

The BLM said the fire is in a remote area east of Dixie Valley, about 20 miles north of U.S. Highway 50. No structures are threatened.

The fire was first reported Thursday morning at

9:15 a.m.

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