Three firefighters die in Utah plane crash

April 26, 2009 at 6:28 PM
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STOCKTON, Utah, April 26 (UPI) -- New Mexico officials Sunday were mourning three men who died in a Utah plane crash while on their way to fight a 31,000-acre wildfire near Hope, N.M.

Three crew members aboard a P2V Neptune were killed Saturday after it crashed in Utah's Oquirrh Mountains about one mile east of Stockton Pass, Tooele County, Utah, sheriff's officials told the Deseret News in Salt Lake City.

Those killed were identified as pilot Tom Risk, 66, of Littleton, Colo., and crew members Mike Flynn, 59, of Alamogordo, N.M., and Brian Buss, 32, of Alberton, Mont. The plane had departed from Missoula, Mont., and was headed for Alamogordo, N.M., when it crashed.

"While we must pause to mourn their loss, within the wildland community we must also honor them by continuing to fight fires to protect our communities," New Mexico State Forester Arthur "Butch" Blazer told the newspaper.

"The fire aviation community lost good people and a valuable resource today and they will be missed," said Jennifer Myslivy, a fire mitigation and education specialist for the U.S. Bureau of Land Management based in New Mexico.

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