An OV-10A Bronco owned by the California Dept. of Forestry and Fire Protection (CDF) crashed on Wednesday, Sept. 6, 2006 near Portersville, CA while assisting with fighting a wildfire in the remote foothills of Tulare County, California. The Bronco (registration N419DF, manuf. s/n 305-104M-56, BuNo 155445, Air Attack No. A-410, based at Porterville, CA) went down around 6:30pm, about 170 miles north of Los Angeles. No possible cause for the crash has yet been established. Sadly, both crew members died in the crash, which sparked a three-acre fire. CDF spokeswoman Becki Redwine said that the two victims were George Willett, age 52, a DynCorp contract pilot from Hanford, CA; and CDF Battalion Chief Robert Paul Stone, age 36, of Visalia, CA. Redwine said that over 75 CDF and Sherriff personnel responded to the crash scene, but it was difficult to reach due to the rough terrain. The fire that the Bronco was assisting with was thought to have been caused by a campfire, and had been contained earlier the day of the crash.
The FAA and NTSB is investigating the crash. The OV-10 Bronco Association extends our thoughts and prayers to the family and friends of the victims of this sad incident, and we are sure that we aren't alone in thanking these brave folks who gave their lives in the course of protecting the lives of others.
Mercury News article
FAA Preliminary Accident Report