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A sad day in Yosemite: Pilot’s body recovered; NTSB launches crash investigation

An honorary procession for fallen pilot Geoffrey “Craig” Hunt was held Wednesday at the Highway 140 gate into Yosemite National Park. Austen Thibault / Union Democrat, Copyright 2014.
As federal aviation investigators began a probe into Tuesday’s fatal crash of a Cal Fire tanker plane fighting Yosemite’s Dog Rock Fire, search and rescue teams Wednesday morning solemnly recovered the body of the pilot identified as Geoffrey “Craig” Hunt, of San Jose.

A flag-draped litter carrying Hunt’s body was carefully loaded into an ambulance and then a black SUV, with an honor guard of Cal Fire and park employees standing by.

Semitruck blocks Highway 108 near Kennedy Meadows

Both lanes of traffic were blocked this morning on Highway 108 near Sonora Pass after a semitruck hit an embankment.

The accident happened about 8 a.m., according to California Highway Patrol reports, and the road was still blocked at 10:30 a.m.

Drivers can use a turnout on the road’s shoulder to get around the truck.

A tow truck was dispatched about 8:20 a.m.

The officer on scene was out of radio-contact range with the Jamestown CHP office and, limited information was available, said CHP Officer Ken Bruce.

Mark Twain clinic hearing postponed

The Angels Camp City Council postponed its Tuesday night meeting on Mark Twain Medical Center’s planned clinic construction project because too many people were packed into the Angels Fire House.

City staff said the fire station has a maximum occupancy of 49 people, and 83 people were present at the start of the 6 p.m. meeting. Most people showed up for a public hearing regarding Mark Twain’s plans for a clinic at highways 4 and 49. 

Board delays gun range decision

In a surprising legal twist, the Tuolumne County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday chose to delay a decision on issuing permits for an existing firearms training school off La Grange Road near Jamestown.

The county received a 33-page legal letter Monday from attorneys hired by several property owners who live close to the school and are concerned about noise and safety.

Yosemite crash pilot identified

State fire officials today identified the pilot killed in Tuesday’s plane crash in Yosemite National Park as Geoffrey “Craig” Hunt.


Pilot killed in crash while fighting Dog Rock Fire

A Cal Fire tanker plane crashed into a cliff Tuesday afternoon while fighting wildfire inside Yosemite National Park. Ken Yager / Courtesy photo
Federal investigators today were to begin investigating the crash of a Cal Fire tanker plane that slammed into a cliff Tuesday afternoon while fighting a wildfire inside Yosemite National Park.

Tuesday night, rescue workers reached the plane, an S-2T flown out of Cal Fire’s Hollister Air Attack Base, and confirmed the pilot’s death.

Highway 140 fire burns 150 acres; forces evacuations

Firefighters in Yosemite National Park this morning continued to battle a wildfire burning near the park’s west entrance, forcing evacuations in the community of Foresta and the closure of Highway 140 within the park.

The fire as of this morning had consumed 150 acres and was uncontained. It was unclear how many people were fighting the fire this morning.

Plane crashes in new Yosemite fire

A new fire in Yosemite National Park has prompted evacuation of a town, closed a highway, took down power and led to the crash of a Cal Fire air tanker that responded.

Firefighters battling blaze in Yosemite

Firefighters in Yosemite National Park are battling yet another fire burning in the Foresta area, a small community where residents of about 60 homes have been evacuated.

The Dog Rock fire, as of 6 p.m., has burned 130 acres. The fire was reported about 3 p.m. It was completely uncontained and the cause was unknown, said park spokeswoman Ashley Mayer.

The fire is burning in an area known as Dog Rock, located along El Portal Road, between the Yosmite View Lodge and the Arch Rock park entrance station.

It's heading toward an area that burned in July's El Portal Fire.

In addition to the evacuations, El Portal Road, Highway 140, is closed from Yosemite View Lodge to the junctiojn with Big Oak Flat Road.
In related news, Cal Fire officials lost contact with a tanker this afternoon, according to The Sacramento Bee. 

Assessor race tops election donations

Money is continuing to trickle in for Tuolumne County candidates running in the Nov. 4 election.

Both candidates in the Tuolumne County assessor-recorder’s race and three of the 11 candidates vying for a seat on the Tuolumne Utilities District Board of Directors had filed campaign finance reports with the county Elections Office by about 12:30 p.m. on Monday. All of the candidates were required to file such reports disclosing any campaign donations, loans or spending by 5 p.m. that day.

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Mon, 22 Dec 2014 12:01:41 -0800