Fri, Apr 22, 2005
One Pilot's Brother Died In 1995 Tanker Mishap
Wednesday's crash of a
firefighting tanker in northern California was a double tragedy for
the family pilot Paul Cockrell. You see, Paul's brother died in a
1995 mid-air while fighting a forest fire in the Anza-Borrego State
Park, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Gary Cockrell was at the controls of an Aero Union P-3 when his
aircraft collided with a Beechcraft spotter plane also working the
Anza-Borrego fire. Cockrell, copilot Lisa Netsch and the pilot of
the Beech, Michael Smith, were all killed in the mishap.
Witnesses said Smith's spotter plane appeared to impact the
upper fuselage of the P-3, shearing away the vertical stabilizer.
Even with their aircraft heavily damaged and going down, Cockrell
and Netsch were credited with maneuvering to avoid a tract of homes
in their way.
Before Wednesday, it was the last aviation accident involving an
aircraft flying for Aero Union.
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