British Columbia

B.C. fires: Water bomber crashes fighting Puntzi Lake Fire

A water bomber has crashed while fighting the Puntzi Lake wildfire near Williams Lake, B.C.

Wildfire management branch says pilot escaped unharmed

A Fire Boss water bomber like the one pictured above has crashed fighting a fire near Williams Lake, B.C. (Cariboo Fire Centre)

A water bomber has crashed while fighting the Puntzi Lake wildfire near Williams Lake, B.C., but the pilot has escaped unharmed.

Bill Yearwood, the investigator in charge with the Transportation Safety Board, said the accident involved a single engine amphibious water bomber.

"The 'Fire Boss' water bomber ran into some trouble while scooping water at Puntzi lake," said Yearwood. "The aircraft subsequently sank." 

He said the pilot was able to escape with minimal injuries.

The 46 year-old pilot was flown to Williams Lake for a complete medical checkup as a precaution, said Jeff Berry with Conair Aerial Firefighting, the contractor the pilot works for.

Berry said the pilot has more than 8,000 hours flying experience and has flown the Fire Boss for four years. He added that the aircraft was three years old. 

The 1,200 hectare fire in the province's Cariboo district was discovered on July 8 and is currently not contained at all.

The Puntzi Lake wildfire near Williams Lake, B.C. has been burning since July 8. (Cariboo Fire Centre)


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