CAL FIRE lost contact with the tanker, which was working the Dog Rock Fire, around 4:30 p.m. Several hours later, they released the following information stating that the crash site had been found and the pilot was confirmed dead:
This evening emergency personnel were able to access the crash site of a CAL FIRE air tanker that had crashed near Yosemite National Park and determined that the pilot on board had died.
The CAL FIRE air tanker (Tanker 81) based out of the Hollister Air At tack Base had been fighting the Dog Rock Fire near El Portal when officials lost contact with it late this afternoon.
The pilot’s family has requested we withhold release of the pilot’s name until all immediate family can be notified.
“This crash underscores just how inherently dangerous wildland firefighting is and the job is further compounded this year by extreme fire conditions,” said Chief Ken Pimlott, CAL FIRE director. “We have secured the crash site and will be cooperating with the NTSB on their investigation.”
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the pilot’s family during this difficult time,” said Jeff Cavarra, program director for DynCorp International.