Pilot killed in Utah crash loved battling wildfire
BOISE, Idaho (AP) -- An Idaho pilot who was killed when his air tanker crashed in Utah loved the challenge of flying over wildfires and believed his efforts to combat forest fires from the sky made a difference.
Forty-eight-year-old Todd Tompkins was one of two pilots from Boise killed Sunday when their P-2V air tanker crashed near the Utah-Nevada border while dumping retardant on a blaze. Co-pilot Ronnie Edwin Chambless also died in the crash.
Authorities say there is no immediate cause of the accident.
Tompkins' wife Cassandra Cannon says her husband had flown air tankers for 17 years and believed the work he did was meaningful and impacted the safety of others. Cannon says Tompkins was dispatched to the wildfire Sunday and immediately began fly-overs.
Tompkins is the father of three children.