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Forest Service chief outlines tanker crash probe
Forest Service chief: Investigators to analyze radio traffic in fatal Utah air tanker crash
By The Associated Press

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) ' The chief of the U.S. Forest Service says investigators will look at radio communications behind a deadly air tanker crash in Utah.

Tom Tidwell says National Traffic Safety Board investigators also will interview pilots of the tanker's "spotter" planes, the smaller aircraft assigned to guide it as it dropped retardant.

The Lockheed P2V crashed Sunday, killing two Idaho pilots ' the same day another firefighting plane of the same vintage was forced to make a crash landing at a Nevada airport.

Neptune Aviation owned the plane that crashed in Utah.

Tidwell says the Montana-based company has a good track record but that fighting wildfires with tankers is dangerous business.

He says air drops are part of fighting fires and the agency and its contractors work hard at doing it safely.

Tidwell spoke at a news conference Tuesday in Albuquerque, N.M.


Associated Press writer Susan Montoya in Albuquerque, N.M., contributed to this report.

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