Man dies in helicopter crash while fighting Clear Fire
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - A man is dead after his helicopter crashed while assisting in firefighting efforts on the Clear Fire, according to Alaska State Troopers.
According to an online dispatch, troopers received a report of the crash near mile marker 280 of the Parks Highway around 7:42 p.m. Sunday evening.
According to troopers, the pilot and sole occupant was identified as 56-year-old Douglas Ritchie of Wasilla.
Troopers say Ritchie was operating a Northern Pioneer Helicopters 1960 Bell 204B “Huey” when it crashed while landing at the Anderson Airport’s helipad.
No foul play is suspected. Clint Johnson, a spokesperson with the National Transportation Safety Board, said the agency is sending three investigators to the scene Monday to determine a cause, which he said might not be known until Tuesday due to Monday being used mostly as a travel day.
The fire itself, which is burning about 80 miles southwest of Fairbanks, has grown to more than 9,500 acres and is prompting evacuations.
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