Bodies of 2 Crew Members Found at Site of Plane Crash

The bodies of two crew members from a C-130 firefighting airplane that exploded in midair were recovered Sunday from a rugged canyon 25 miles south of Palmdale, authorities said.

Investigators at the scene Sunday “hiked out with the bodies,” said Capt. Dean Gilmore of the Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office.

Meanwhile, the National Transportation Safety Board launched an investigation of Saturday’s crash, which killed the three crew members on board the four-engine tanker. The remains of the third crew member have not yet been recovered.

The C-130 took off from Hemet Saturday afternoon and was on its way to help battle a 75-acre blaze in Kern County when it crashed in a remote area in the Angeles National Forest, according to officials.


Two fires were ignited by the crash, one which burned 15 acres and took 30 firefighters to extinguish. The other was a small brush fire, authorities said.

Witnesses said the plane, which was carrying fire retardant, was rocked by three midair explosions before it went down.

The plane and its crew were from the Hemet Valley Flying Service, which was contracted by the U.S. Forest Service, authorities said.