NTSB Says Air Tanker Crashed Into Mountain

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File photo of Utah desert. (credit: Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

File photo of Utah desert. (credit: Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A federal preliminary report has found that an air tanker that crashed while fighting a wildfire in southern Utah, killing both pilots, hit mountainous terrain about 700 feet off the flight path of its lead plane.

The National Transportation Safety Board report says the Lockheed P2V-7 was on its second flight of the day dropping retardant on the fire when it followed another plane into a shallow valley. The report says the tanker crashed into a mountain.

NTSB spokesman Keith Holloway says the agency is still probing what the plane’s flight path should have been and whether any deviation contributed to the June 3 crash.

Firefighters were battling a lightning-sparked wildfire that jumped the Nevada border about 150 miles northeast of Las Vegas. The pilots killed were from Boise, Idaho.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.

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