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Company identifies single-engine air tanker pilot killed in crash at Kruger Rock Fire – The Denver Channel

Summary

DENVER – The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating what caused a deadly single-engine air tanker crash at the Kruger Rock Fire near Estes Park Tuesday night as the company the pilot worked for identified him as a 32-year veteran of the Air Force and Army.

CO Fire Aviation identified the pilot killed in the crash as Marc Thor Olson and said he had been an FAA-certified pilot since 1979 who has more than 8,000 flight hours and 1,000 hours of flying with night vision gogg…….

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DENVER – The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating what caused a deadly single-engine air tanker crash at the Kruger Rock Fire near Estes Park Tuesday night as the company the pilot worked for identified him as a 32-year veteran of the Air Force and Army.

CO Fire Aviation identified the pilot killed in the crash as Marc Thor Olson and said he had been an FAA-certified pilot since 1979 who has more than 8,000 flight hours and 1,000 hours of flying with night vision goggles both as a civilian and in combat.

“The Co Fire Aviation family is deeply saddened by the sudden, tragic loss of one of our brothers serving as a tanker pilot,” the company said, adding that it was fully cooperating with the investigation into the crash.

“While we are gravely aware of the inherent dangers of aerial fire fighting and the questions that remain; we ask that family and friends be given distance and time to process and heal as we grieve this loss. Your prayers are appreciated during this difficult time,” the company said in an emailed statement.

A biography on the company’s website said Olson was “looking forward to his second season with CO Fire Aviation as a Level 1 pilot” after “a safe and productive first season” with the company.

Olson had also trained Emirati pilots and had flown multiple types of aircraft during his time in the military and as a civilian, according to the biography.

According to the Larimer County Sheriff’s Office, the crash was reported around 6:37 p.m. The crash site was located near the south side of Hermit Park – about five miles from Estes Park. Olson was the only occupant aboard the plane.

The plane was an Air Tractor AT-802A belonging to CO Fire Aviation, which is based in Fort Morgan, according to the Federal Aviation Administration. According to FlightAware, the plane left Northern Colorado Regional Airport around 6:15 p.m.

Winds at the time were gusting 40 to 50 miles per hour in the area of the crash. The Colorado Department of Forestry said the single-engine air tanker was not flying under the state’s contract on Tuesday night.

On Wednesday morning, a spokesperson for the Larimer County Sheriff’s Office said the sheriff’s office was still working to get answers when asked about who ordered the flight, who made the decision to perform the flight and whether it was the first time a single-engine air tanker had flown at night in Colorado, as the state’s contract does not allow for nighttime flights for SEATs. Oregon has tested flying SEATs at night.

The sheriff’s office said in a statement Wednesday afternoon that it reached out to CO Fire Aviation around noon Tuesday and asked if they would be able to assist in air operations because the terrain was too difficult for firefighters on the ground to access.

The sheriff’s office said …….

Source: https://www.thedenverchannel.com/news/wildfire/company-identifies-single-engine-air-tanker-pilot-killed-in-crash-at-kruger-rock-fire