BREAKING NEWS: Three dead in air tanker plane crash near Reno airport |

BREAKING NEWS: Three dead in air tanker plane crash near Reno airport

Jonah M. Kessel / Tahoe Daily TribuneA P2V air tanker drops fire retardant on the Burnside fire in Alpine County, Calif., Monday, Sept. 1, 2008. A P2V firefighting air tanker crashed on takeoff from an airfield just north of Reno, killing all three crew members on board.

An air tanker that crashed in Stead on Labor Day and killed its three crewmembers had apparently been released in the Sierra south of Lake Tahoe and was headed to another fire in California.

City of Reno spokesman Steve Frady said earlier accounts that the aircraft was headed back to the Burnside fire in Hope Valley were incorrect.

The crash was reported at about 6:09 p.m. Monday north of Stead Airport, according to Frady.

“Airport Authority officials told me it was fully loaded with fuel and fire retardant,” he said. “Minden Dispatch advised it had about 2,070 gallons of retardant.”

Reno firefighters responded to a brush fire set by the crash. The fire was quickly extinguished. The debris field from the crash covered about 5 acres. The brush fire was contained to 1.5 acres.

Washoe County Sheriff’s deputies are securing the scene of the accident for the National Transportation Safety Board.

“We’re waiting for the NTSB to do their investigation, then we do the investigation on the deaths,” Washoe County Sheriff’s Office information officer Brooke Keast said.

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