Source Pravda.Ru

Air tanker crash, the cause is investigated

An air tanker designed to drop retardant during wildfires crashed on a training flight in a remote forest, killing all three pilots on board, federal officials said.

The cause was under investigation, said &to=http:// english.pravda.ru/fun/2002/11/12/39416.html ' target=_blank>Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Donn Walker.

The tanker was set to begin fighting fires next month after safety concerns grounded it and similar planes a year ago, federal officials said. The plane, a P-3 Orion tanker, went down Wednesday evening in a rugged area of the Lassen National Forest, about 120 miles north of Sacramento, tells ABC News.

The steep terrain prevented a rescue helicopter from landing at the crash site, forcing search-and-rescue teams to hike two to three miles to reach the wreckage, forest spokeswoman Leona Rodreick said. "It's a fairly remote spot, and it took them a while to find a route in," Rodreick said. "There are no roads or trails."