Firefighting helicopter crash in China kills four

It was attempting to refill its water bucket at a lake

Helicopter crash in China May 10, 2021
Helicopter crash in China May 10, 2021. Still image from video.

This article first appeared on Fire Aviation.

Four were killed Monday May 10 after a helicopter crashed in Erhai Lake in Dali, Southwest China’s Yunnan Province. The Z-8X helicopter operated by the People’s Liberation Army Air Force had been assisting firefighters on the ground by dropping water with an external bucket. It crashed while attempting to refill at the lake.

Initially it was reported that the two pilots were killed and there were two missing crewmembers. After a search that involved 16 ships and more than 490 rescuers the crewmembers were found deceased about 16 hours later, very early Tuesday morning local time.

Videos show the aircraft start to slowly rotate or spin while it was a couple of hundred feet above the lake before the bucket was lowered into the water. The spin increased in speed and the helicopter descended, then there was an explosion that sent debris flying before the helicopter hit the water.

The video below has a different angle and includes footage after the crash.

The best video is at Yahoo News.

Our sincere condolences go out to the crew’s family, friends, and coworkers.

The Z-8 helicopter is a Chinese version of the French Aérospatiale SA 321 Super Frelon helicopter.

The China Daily, owned by the Propaganda Department of the Chinese Communist Party, reported that a huge number of people were assigned to the 118-acre wildfire the helicopter was working on:

“A total of 2,532 people were mobilized to extinguish the fire which scorched some 48 hectares of land, according to the forest and grassland fire prevention and control headquarters in Dali. No casualties as a result of the fire have been reported.”

A typical fire that size would have a perimeter of about 9,400 feet. If the 2,532 personnel on the fire were all standing on the perimeter they would be stationed every 3 feet, literally shoulder to shoulder.

Thanks and a tip of the hat go out to Bob.

A wildfire in China has killed 19 people, including 18 firefighters

One resident also died

firefighters killed china wildfire
Screenshot of firefighters working on a wildfire near Xinhua in China. From a video produced by CTGN, an organization supported by the government of China.

A wildfire in southwest China’s Sichuan province killed 19 people on Monday, including 18 firefighters according to state news agency Xinhua. It started on a farm and pushed by strong winds spread into mountains burning 1,000 hectares (2,471 acres) by Monday night. It now directly threatens major facilities in downtown Xichang, including a petroleum storage facility and four schools.

About 690,000 people live in the city, which is about 210 miles southwest of provincial capital Chengdu.

Map fire near Xichang China
Map of the fire near Xichang in China. From the Twitter account of The Paper (Pengpai News 澎湃新闻)

In the tweet below, firefighters appear to be in a precarious location:

Our sincere condolences go out to the families, friends, and coworkers of the deceased.

27 firefighters and 3 others confirmed killed in wildfire in China

The fire was burning at 12,000 feet above sea level

China 27 firefighters killed wildfire
Photo taken on April 1, 2019 shows the site of a forest fire in Yalongjiang Township of Muli County, Liangshan Yi Autonomous Prefecture, southwest China’s Sichuan Province. Twenty-seven firefighters have been confirmed as having died March 31 while working on the fire.

China’s state news agency Xinhua confirmed Tuesday that 27 firefighters and 3 locals lost their lives March 31 while battling a wildfire in southwest China’s Sichuan Province.

The agency said the fire burned 15 hectares (37 acres) in a remote area of the province at 3,700 meters (12,139 feet) above sea level.

“We’re ready to increase precipitation artificially,”said Wu Song, county chief of Muli, Sichuan’s Liangshan Yi Autonomous Prefecture. He said the fire has been contained as of Tuesday.

china wildfire helicopter water bucket
A firefighting helicopter collects water to battle a forest fire in Muli County in Liangshan Yi Autonomous Prefecture, southwest China’s Sichuan Province, April 2, 2019.

Another fire in China, in Shanxi Province, is being fought by over 15,000 people, including professional firefighters, factory workers, soldiers, and police. Residents of 41 villages are under evacuation orders. The state news agency said “Firefighters have carved out a 40-km-long isolation belt. A second 6-km-long fire isolation belt is being bulldozed.”

Report: 27 wildland firefighters killed in China

wildfire killed firefighters china
The deadly wildfire in southwestern China. New China photo.

Early reports are that at least 27 firefighters were killed while fighting a wildfire in China on March 31. The BBC said 30 firefighters died, while the China Xinhau News reported it was 27 firefighters and 3 civilians that perished.

(Update 9:15 a.m. MDT April 2: China’s state new agency Xinhua confirmed Tuesday that 27 firefighters and 3 locals lost their lives.)

From the BBC:

Thirty firefighters have died while tackling a huge forest fire in south-western China, officials say.

Fire crews had been battling the blaze in the mountains of Sichuan province on Sunday when a change in wind direction caused “a huge fireball”, trapping them, the emergency ministry said.

Contact with 30 firefighters was lost. All were confirmed dead on Monday and their bodies were retrieved from the mountain, state TV said.

China Xinhua News had different numbers — 30 killed but 27 of those were firefighters.

An earlier report had the number at 26 firefighters:

The New York Times was not specific about how the numbers broke down:

A forest fire in southwestern China turned deadly over the weekend when winds shifted unexpectedly, trapping firefighters and local officials in a maelstrom. The bodies of 30 people who could not escape were found on Monday, officials announced, even as the fire continued to burn out of control.

Among those who died were the chief of a regional forestry bureau in Liangshan Yi Autonomous Prefecture in Sichuan Province, and his deputy, state media reported. The officials had traveled to the scene of the fire, which broke out on Saturday in a remote location at altitudes nearing 13,000 feet, and had not been heard from since.

Our sincere condolences go out to the families, friends, and coworkers of the deceased.

Thanks and a tip of the hat go out to Paula. Typos or errors, report them HERE.

Four firefighters killed in China

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Four firefighters that were working on a wildfire in the Shanxi Province of northern China were found dead Monday April 3. According to local authorities they became entrapped while fighting the fire near Wenjiazhuang Village of Taigu County.

The initial report is that the fire was caused by a villager who was burning paper money while visiting the tombs of relatives before Tomb Sweeping Day, which was on April 4 this year. The custom in China is for people to pay respect to their deceased family members at that time of the year by burning incense and paper money.

China: 5 climbers killed in fire

From ShanghaiDaily:

Five climbers killed in mountain fire in NE China

March 22, 2015

DALIAN, March 22 (Xinhua) — Five mountain climbers have been confirmed dead after a fire in Dahei Mountain in northeastern Chinese city of Dalian Sunday, according to local fire fighters.

The forest fire control center received the fire report at 1:48 p.m. and sent more than 300 fire fighters to the site.

No further information on the climbers is available so far.

The fire was brought under control at 5:50 p.m. The cause of the mountain fire is still under investigation.