Colorado Pilot Fighting Wildfire Dies in Plane Crash After Making One Final Pass Over the Blaze, Officials Say
Officials said the Colorado pilot, who died in a plane crash while fighting a wildfire on Tuesday, was making a final pass over the blaze before he met his demise.
NBC News reported that CO Fire Aviation, the pilot's company, confirmed this information on Wednesday. Marc Thor Olson was found dead after the Air Tractor AT-802A went down at around 6:40 p.m Tuesday.
The Larimer County Sheriff's Office said the plane crash happened south of Estes Park, in the mountains west of Loveland, about three hours after authorities received a report of the crash.
The sheriff's office noted that Olson, an Army and Air Force veteran with 42 years of flight experience, was the only passenger on the plane that tragically crashed amid a Colorado wildfire.
Colorado Pilot Fighting Wildfire Dies In Plane Crash
The Larimer County Sheriff's Office said Wednesday that they hired the plane to fight the Kruger Rock wildfire because of its potential to spread quickly in dry, windy conditions, and the terrain made it too dangerous to have firefighters fight it on the ground.
The sheriff's office noted that Marc Thor Olson was conducting drops on the Kruger Rock Fire when the plane crashed. Police said the plane successfully made one water drop before Olson reported turbulent conditions on its second flight over the fire about an hour later.
"Moments later, at approximately 6:37 p.m., ground resources heard the plane crash," the sheriff's office noted. Marc Thor Olson was reportedly flying the single-engine plane using night-vision goggles after nightfall.
According to the sheriff's office, "recent advances in technology to achieve night air operations already in use in other states has proven to be an effective tactic to help prevent medium-sized fires from exploding and making large runs" like they saw last year.
On Wednesday, a National Transportation Safety Board investigator arrived in the area to collaborate with firefighters and law enforcement to look at the crash site and make documentation before the fire could potentially burn the area.
It was still unclear what caused the plane crash that killed the Colorado pilot. The pilot's company said it is fully cooperating with investigators and is deeply saddened by Olson's loss.
Kruger Rock Fire in Colorado
The Colorado wildfire started early Tuesday morning in the area of Little Valley and Fish Creek near Kruger Rock. FOX 31 reported that the Kruger Rock Fire began when high winds blew a tree onto a nearby powerline causing it to bend and start the blaze.
As of Wednesday evening, the fire had burned 145 acres with 40 percent containment. No structures have reportedly been damaged, and some evacuation orders were lifted or downgraded to voluntary by the authorities.
This article is owned by Latin Post.
Written by: Joshua Summers
WATCH: Kruger Rock Fire Crests Trees, Sends Flames 50 Feet Into The Air - From CBS Denver
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