Two pilots die after plane crashes while fighting Utah wildfire - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Two pilots die after plane crashes while fighting Utah wildfire

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Two pilots from Idaho died Sunday when their air tanker crashed to the ground while they helped authorities fight a wildfire in southwestern Utah.

Authorities said the P-2V heavy air tanker crashed about 2:00pm local time, about 22 miles (35km) west of Modena, Utah, The Salt Lake Tribune reported.

The pilots were identified as captain Todd Neal Tompkins, 48, and first officer Ronnie Edwin Chambless, 40.

The private plane had been contracted through a Montana company to drop retardant on the fire, which has burned 5,000 acres (2,023 hectares) since Friday.

Fire crews tried to hold the fire back while officials hiked to the crash site, but the pilots were found dead when sheriff's deputies made it to the scene. Iron County sheriff's Detective Sgt. Jody Edwards told the Tribune the fire later engulfed the crash site.

Authorities have begun investigating what caused the crash.

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