Air Tanker Crashes in Colorado

BROOMFIELD, Colo. --

An air tanker fighting one of several wildfires burning in Colorado has crashed outside of Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport on Saturday afternoon.

The pilot reported that the plane was having mechanical issues before attempting an emergency landing, at 12:27 p.m. A spokesperson with the Federal Aviation Authority said the plane experienced hydraulic failure during the landing.

The plane went off the runway and crashed through a fence surrounding the airport. It came to a rest in an embankment and a trail.

The plane, a P2V-5 based out of Missoula, Mont., was carrying 1,100 pounds of firefighting slurry when it crashed.

Both the pilot and co-pilot walked away from the crash.

As a result of the crash, all air support was suspended on Saturday in fighting two fires in northern Colorado. The Cow Creek Fire, located in Rocky Mountain National Park, is burning in over 800 acres. The Round Fire, located in the foothills west of Loveland and near State Highway 34, is burning in 150 acres and near homes.

Steve Segin, spokesman for the Rocky Mountain Area Coordination Center, said a U.S. Forest Service aviation safety team will investigate the crash, along with the National Transportation Safety Board.

Segin said while winged-aircraft support has been suspended on Saturday, helicopters will still assist in fighting the blazes.

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