Oct 15, 2014 12:34 PM by News Staff
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - Federal investigators say a California firefighting aircraft that crashed while battling a wildfire in Yosemite National Park might have struck a tree and torn off a wing as it approached the blaze.
The crash last week killed the plane's sole crew member, pilot Geoffrey "Craig" Hunt, and led to a temporary grounding of the state's remaining 22 air tankers.
The National Transportation Safety Board said Wednesday the twin-engine S-2T air tanker was destroyed when it hit a mountainside and by a subsequent fire.
The agency's findings about the potential cause of the Oct. 7 crash are preliminary, and a more complete investigation is ongoing. A final report likely will take months.
The tanker was dropping retardant on a fire climbing a steep canyon wall near the Yosemite's west entrance.
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