Cal Fire Air Tanker Crashes Near Yosemite While Battling Dog Rock Fire
An air tanker that was battling a wildfire burning near the Arch Rock entrance to Yosemite National Park crashed on Tuesday afternoon.
Emergency crews reached the wreckage in steep and rugged terrain in the evening and found the solo pilot dead. The name of the pilot is being withheld pending notification of family.
The Grumman S2T was based out of the Hollister Air Attack base. It was operated by Cal Fire and was assisting federal crews in fighting the 130 acre Dog Rock Fire.
Cal Fire spokesperson Lynne Tolmachoff says the state has grounded its fleet of fixed wing aircraft following the accident.
Tolmachoff: "They want to make sure that if it was a mechanical issue with the plane, we want the rest of our pilots to be safe and not have anything happen to them."
The S2T is the most commonly used air tanker in the Cal Fire fleet. The planes had been previously used as submarine hunters by the US Navy.
Officials say 60 homes in Foresta have been evacuated due to the fire. Highway 140 is closed at the park entrance.