Crash of firefighting helicopter kills pilot near Coalinga, California

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August 19, 2020  |  5:16 p.m. PDT

N711GH Guardian Helicopters
N711GH, Guardian Helicopters photo.

(This article first appeared on Fire Aviation)

A pilot was killed August 19 in the crash of a helicopter while working on the Hills Fire, approximately 9 miles south of the City of Coalinga. Air and ground resources responded immediately to the crash site which was in rugged terrain.  The pilot was the only person aboard and the name has not been disclosed. Local TV station ABC30 said the helicopter was on a water dropping mission.

CAL FIRE released the information about the crash, saying the National Transportation Safety Board is leading the investigation and CAL FIRE is assisting.

Zoe Keliher, a spokesperson for the NTSB, said the helicopter will be recovered August 20 and moved to a location for further examination. She confirmed that the registration number of the aircraft is N711GH.

Personnel with the FAA said the aircraft crashed around 10 a.m. Wednesday and the accident started a new fire.

FAA records show that it is a Bell UH-1H manufactured in 2009 and owned by Guardian Helicopters, Inc. of Van Nuys, California.

The Hills Fire started Saturday and has burned about 1,500 acres. ABC30 said the fire started by the crash will likely burn into the Hills Fire.

We send out our sincere condolences to the family, friends, and co-workers of the pilot.

Thanks and a tip of the hat go out to Pamela, Jim, and Douglas.

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Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire. Google+

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