P2V Tanker operated by Neptune Aviation
RENO (AP) — An air tanker that had been used to drop retardant on a wildfire in the Sierra Nevada crashed after taking off for a flight to another blaze, killing all three crewmembers.
Preliminary witness reports suggested the aircraft had lost part of one engine or a wing after taking off from Reno-Stead Airport, said Ian Gregor, a spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration.
The plane went down about a half-mile from the airport and burst into flame, Reno fire spokesman Steve Frady said.
The twin-engine P2V air tanker owned by Neptune Aviation of Missoula, Mont., had returned to the airport Monday after making one flight over a fire in California's Hope Valley south of Lake Tahoe during the morning, said Marnie Bonesteel, a spokeswoman with the Sierra Front Wildfire Cooperators.
The plane crashed after it took off to drop retardant on another fire in California later in the day, she said.