Kruger Rock Fire plane crash – Heroic pilot dies trying to put out blazing wildfire in Colorado air tanker tragedy

A PILOT was killed while fighting the Kruger Rock Fire when a single-engine air tanker crashed Tuesday night.

The Larimer County Sheriff’s Office said the crash was first reported around 6:37 p.m. and crews were deployed to the search area. 

The crash site was found around 9:49 p.m. near the south end of Hermit Park off Highway 36 south of Estes Park.

"We are sad to report that the pilot and only occupant of the aircraft did not survive." read a statement from Kroger Fire. An investigation is currently underway.

The tragedy was meant to be a historic flight as it was to be the first time that a fixed-winged aircraft was being used to fight a fire at night using night-vision goggles. 

9NEWS spoke to the pilot earlier but is not currently revealing his name, who said he was “excited” to make history. 

“Pretty cool thing to be a part of, I think,” he said. “This is the culmination of about five years of pretty hard work.”

More to follow…

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