2 pilots killed in aircraft collision while fighting Bishop Fire in Nevada

The single-engine Air Tractor AT8T aircraft collided mid-air during firefighting operations


Update July 31, 2020: Officials confirmed that both pilots on board two firefighting planes that collided Thursday have died.

"We offer our sincere condolences to the families of the two pilots and to all those working with the BLM Nevada Ely District," Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Nevada State Director Jon Raby said in a statement

The pilots were the only personnel on board each aircraft when they collided while battling the Bishop Fire in Nevada. 

The Bishop Fire, which was human-caused, was first reported on July 29.
The Bishop Fire, which was human-caused, was first reported on July 29.

The identities of the pilots have not yet been released. 

Original report:

By Janelle Foskett

CALIENTE, Nev. – Two firefighting aircraft collided while battling a wildfire in Nevada.

Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman Claire Morville reported that the two single-engine Air Tractor AT8T airplanes collided in mid-air while battling the 14,000-acre Bishop Fire, as was reported by the Reno Gazette Journal. The collision occurred at approximately 1 p.m.

One person was aboard each aircraft during the firefighting operation. The pilots’ conditions are unknown at this time.  

The FAA and National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the collision.

The Bishop Fire started in Rainbow Canyon, about 17 miles southwest of Caliente, Nevada. The InciWeb Incident Overview reports that, “No private property or structures are immediately threatened. Firefighter and public safety are the top priority.”

The fire, which was human-caused, was first reported on Wednesday at 12:20 p.m. Full containment is expected by Aug. 6.

Eastern Nevada Interagency Fire posted the following details on its Facebook page on Wednesday:

 

Ground and aerial resources are fully suppressing the approximately 500-acre Bishop Fire in Rainbow Canyon, about 17...

Posted by Eastern Nevada Interagency Fire on Wednesday, July 29, 2020

This is a developing story.

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