NTSB Identification: SEA01FA127.
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Accident occurred Tuesday, July 10, 2001 in Cottonwood, ID
Probable Cause Approval Date: 10/24/2002
Aircraft: Rockwell S-2R-1200, registration: N4947X
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The airplane, loaded with approximately 450 gallons of fire retardant, was directed to work the fire's east flank. A witness on the ground stated the airplane approached from the southwest, near the top of the canyon. He reported that initially he didn't see the airplane, but could only hear it flying down the east flank of the fire. Shortly thereafter, he reported seeing a "big ball of fire" and thought the pilot must have hit something. A second witness reported seeing the accident airplane approach the fire from the south. He stated that as the airplane approached the fire, the pilot reported that "...it was [too smoky] and he was going around to try again." Shortly thereafter, ground crews reported that the airplane had crashed. Post accident evaluation of the aircraft wreckage revealed no evidence of a pre-impact failure or malfunction.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:

Failure to maintain adequate clearance from terrain while dropping fire retardant. Factors include low visibility with smoke.

Full narrative available

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