FAA and NTSB investigating helicopter crash
PHOENIX (AP) — A procession that included fire trucks and law enforcement vehicles on Friday escorted a white hearse carrying the flag-draped coffin of an Arizona helicopter pilot killed in a crash while helping fight a wildfire.
The procession led by Arizona Highway Patrol vehicles took Bryan Boatman of Glendale from the Pinal County Medical Examiner’s Office in Florence to a funeral chapel in Peoria in metro Phoenix.
A memorial service is planned but details weren’t available Friday, according to a statement issued by the interagency team managing the fight against the wildfire in east-central Arizona.
Boatman, 37, was killed Tuesday when the helicopter he was piloting crashed under unknown circumstances on a flight to deliver supplies to fire crews deployed in rugged terrain in a remote area of the Tonto National Forest.
Boatman was the only person aboard the helicopter, which crashed about 10 miles (16 kilometers) west of Payson
The Forest Service is deeply saddened by the loss of Bryan Boatman. Bryan was piloting a helicopter on the Tonto NF, in response to the Polles Fire near Payson, which crashed just north of the wildfire yesterday afternoon. Our thoughts are with family, friends and coworkers. pic.twitter.com/K8Wkel8am3
— USDA Forest Service, SW (@ForestServiceSW) July 8, 2020
Gov. Doug Ducey ordered that flags on state buildings be flown at half-staff Wednesday in honor of the pilot, who was survived by his wife and their 8-year-old child.
A Federal Aviation Administration spokesman has said the FAA and the National Transportation Board would investigate the crash.
Lightning started the fire July 3. It was 85% contained Friday.
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