Air tanker crash kills pilot near Emmett

A Bureau of Land Management fire truck waits in a garage bay at the Vale BLM office. A pilot of an air tanker contracted with the BLM crashed near Emmett Tuesday, killing its pilot. (The Enterprise/Rachel Parsons).

EMMETT – Federal officials are investigating the crash of a single-engine air tanker Tuesday evening that killed its pilot near the Schill Fire burning south of Emmett.

A news release from the Bureau of Land Management said Ricky Fulton, was the pilot of the T-857 aircraft owned by Aero S.E.A.T. Incorporated and was under contract with the BLM Fire and Aviation at the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise. The crash occurred around 7 p.m. the BLM said.

The pilot and aircraft were based at the Ontario Air Tanker facility managed by the Vale District of the BLM.

 “We offer our sincere condolences to the family, friends, and colleagues of the pilot lost in this tragic accident,” Tanya Thrift, acting BLM Boise District Manager, said in the news release. “This reminds us of the inherent risks involved in wildland firefighting and the gratitude we owe to the courageous and committed men and women who serve willingly to protect lives, property, and natural resources.”

The U.S. Department of the Interior’s Office of Aviation Services, the National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration are investigating the accident, the news release said.

The Schill Fire started around 4:30 p.m. Tuesday in grass and brush in steep terrain, the news release said. The fire, after growing to 30 acres, was contained around 10 p.m. that same day.

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