Two people died Saturday when their aircraft crashed in Arizona.
The aircraft was helping to battle the Cedar Basin Fire in Mohave County north of Phoenix when it crashed, according to KPHO-TV. The fire, which began after a lightning strike Friday, has burned about 300 acres.
“The Bureau of Land Management is currently working with other local, state and federal agencies to respond to a fatal aircraft accident associated with the Cedar Basin Fire near Wikieup, Arizona,” the Bureau of Land Management said in a statement.
“The accident occurred around noon today (July 10) and involved an air attack aircraft performing aerial reconnaissance and command and control over the fire. Two crew members were on board and we are sad to report there were no survivors,” the statement said.
Two aerial firefighters were killed July 10 in the crash of an air attack aircraft associated with a wildfire in Arizona. It occurred on the Cedar Basin Fire which is 14 miles northeast of Wikieup, Arizona and 43 miles southeast of Kingman, Arizona.https://t.co/r45LFz1vlJ
— The Responder News 🇺🇸 (@Responder_News) July 11, 2021
“We will provide additional information pending next of kin notification. Our hearts go out to the families of our brave wildland firefighters,” the statement said.
Michele Machholz, 54, of Wikieup, said she saw the crash while looking out her kitchen window and talking on the phone to her husband, according to the Arizona Republic.
She saw something in the sky, and first assumed it was a bird.
She then realized “it’s not a turkey vulture, it’s an airplane.”
“And it’s coming down at an angle that … you don’t traditionally see airplanes flying at this angle,” she said. “It was coming down at a steep angle.”
She said for a few seconds she was silent as she saw the plane “slam into the ground.”
“I’m screaming on the phone and ‘Oh my gosh. It just crashed. I can’t believe it,'” she said.
“I’m trying to tell my husband that this airplane just crashed and there was this big black plume of giant black smoke,” she said.
My deepest condolences to the families of two brave firefighters who passed away this afternoon providing reconnaissance intel regarding the Cedar Basin Fire near Wikiup, Arizona.https://t.co/gqfesdIhyQ
— Rep. Paul Gosar, DDS (@RepGosar) July 11, 2021
She said she and her husband later drove near the crash site and were told by Bureau of Land Management personnel she had seen a wing fall off the plane.
She said she is praying for the families of those who died.
“The thing that gets to me the most is seeing somebody, knowing that they are going to probably die … and you can’t do one thing but watch it happen,” she said.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.