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Report: How pilot saved firefighter with water bucket

The Forest Service has released a report that highlights the importance of cooperation and training between pilots and those on the ground

BEND, Ore. — A report has been released detailing the dramatic bucket rescue of a firefighter from a wildfire by a pilot flying overhead.

The Forest Service's report says that a helicopter was doing bucket work on the fire and was about to leave to refuel when he noticed the flames quickly spreading and cutting off escape routes.

The pilot radioed to a firefighter in danger, who initially refused help.

As the fast-moving flames spread the pilot said, "You don't see what I'm looking at. You need to get in the bucket now!"

The firefighter decided to trust the pilot's judgment and got into the helicopter's bucket, getting airlifted a half-mile to safety.

The pilot said that as they were flying away, the area that he had picked up the firefighter had already started burning.

Fire safety officials say in the report that the rescue demonstrates the importance of cross-training between pilots and those on the fireground.

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