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Air tanker crash kills 2 at site of Utah wildfire

Photos by Scott G Winterton / AP

The crash scene of a heavy air tanker is seen from the air, June 4, 2012, near Hamblin Valley Utah. The P2v Heavy air tanker crashed Sunday afternoon, killing pilots Todd Neal Tompkins and Ronnie Edwin Chambless, both of Boise, Idaho.

The crash and fire are seen from the air Monday.

The Associated Press reports:

An air tanker dropping retardant on a remote wildfire along the Utah-Nevada line crashed Sunday afternoon, killing both crew members, authorities said.

The pilots were fighting the 5,000-acre White Rock Fire, which began burning Friday night after a lightning strike in eastern Nevada. The fire spread across the Utah line Saturday night, but most of the blaze remained in Nevada, about 150 miles northeast of Las Vegas.

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Forest fires continue to rage in the Southwest, where two pilots were killed over the weekend when the air tanker they were flying crashed near the Utah-Nevada border. An hour later, another air tanker was forced to make a belly landing outside Reno, Nev., when landing gear malfunctioned. NBC's Miguel Almaguer reports.