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Jumpers Survive Crash at Las Vegas

by Kelly Andersson |

PILOT AND TWO JUMPERS INJURED AT LAS VEGAS

JULY 23 -- LAS VEGAS, NV: How two smokejumpers and their contract pilot survived Thursday's wreck of their twin-engine Aero Commander is a mystery. The plane crashed during takeoff from North Las Vegas Airport, and emergency crews managed a difficult and dangerous rescue.

According to the Las Vegas Sun, the pilot and both jumpers were transported to University Medical Center; smokejumper Ron Rucker of Redmond, Oregon, was treated and released. The other jumper is also from Oregon, but her name and that of the pilot, of Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, were not released.

The 1964 Aero Commander, owned by Commander Northwest Ltd. of Anchorage, Alaska, has been contracted to the Forest Service and other agencies for biological surveys and firefighting assignments for several years. The NTSB and FAA and Forest Service are investigating the cause of the crash.

KLAS-TV and KVBC-TV have video clips online.


How two smokejumpers and their contract pilot survived Thursday's wreck of their twin-engine Aero Commander is a mystery. The plane crashed during takeoff from North Las Vegas Airport, and emergency crews managed a difficult and dangerous rescue.