A mid-air collision involving two Department of the Interior-contracted Single Engine Air Tankers (SEATs) occurred on the Bishop Fire, approximately 17 miles southwest of Caliente.

The incident occurred at approximately 12:55 p.m. today. Both pilots were killed in the crash. Names of the pilots are not being released at this time due to the recovery operations that are currently underway and initial notifications are still being made.

“We offer our sincere  condolences to the families of the two pilots and to all those working with the BLM Nevada Ely District,” said BLM Nevada State Director Jon Raby.

SEATs are small airplanes used to support firefighters on the ground. They can deliver up to 800 gallons of fire retardant and operate in areas where larger airtankers cannot. Contract pilots play an important role in wildland firefighting efforts as the BLM protects the public, natural landscapes, wildlife habitat, recreational areas, and other values and resources.

The incident is under investigation.