NEVADA (ABC4 News) – Two firefighter pilots were killed in a mid-air collision involving two U.S. Department of the Interior-contracted Single Engine Air Tankers, or SEATs.
The Bureau of Land Management says the incident happened at about 12:55 p.m. during firefighting activities at the Bishop Fire, about 17 miles SW of Caliente, Nevada.
The collision happened near the intersection of Kane Springs Road and Riggs Road and one person was aboard each aircraft. Both pilots were killed in the crash, according to officials.
Recovery operations are currently underway and officials say initial notifications are still being made. The victims in the collision have not yet been identified.
Officials said SEATs are small airplanes used to support firefighters on the ground. They can deliver up to 800 gallons of fire retardant and operate in areas where larger air tankers cannot. They added that contract pilots play an important role in wildland firefighting efforts as the Bureau of Land Management protects the public, natural landscapes, wildlife habitat, recreational areas, and other values and resources.
The incident is still under investigation.