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Helicopter pilot helping Alaska firefighters dies in crash


Associated Press

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Officials say a helicopter pilot working to support firefighters battling a blaze in Interior Alaska has died in a crash. It is the first fatality related to Alaska wildfires in 22 years. Alaska State Troopers identified the pilot as 56-year-old as Douglas Ritchie of Wasilla. He was the lone occupant in a 1960 Bell 204B “Huey” helicopter that crashed after takeoff Sunday night from an airstrip near the community of Anderson. Anderson is about 80 miles southwest of Fairbanks. The National Transportation Safety Board is sending investigators to the crash site. The Alaska Division of Forestry says the last fatality was that of a smokejumper who died in a training exercise in 2000.

Article Topic Follows: AP National News

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Associated Press


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