The plane had an accident while intervening over Générac to extinguish the fire that broke out this Friday. The pilot, alone on board, died.
A bomber plane used to extinguish the forest fire in Générac, Gard, crashed on Friday at 17:20 near Mas-de-Reculan. Its pilot, the only person on board, is dead. “The aircraft would have broken into pieces the ground,” said a source close to the firefighters.
The French Minister of the Interior, Christophe Castaner, reacted by sharing his “thoughts with the family and friends of this firefighter“.
In a statement from their national federation, “the 250,000 firefighters of France” also expressed “all their sadness“, recalling that “the risk-taking is in the very nature of those who help on a daily basis“.
The crashed aircraft is a Grumman S-2 Tracker of the Civil Security. This plane is the smallest of the water bombers responding to fires, together with Canadair and Dash aircraft. Its release capacity is 3,600 litres. Such accidents are extremely rare. Among the last similar dramas in France, there is that of a Canadair which crashed at sea on August 1, 2005, with its pilot and co-pilot, in Calvi in Haute-Corse.
“I am suffering, I am moved, I have no words,” said the mayor of the Commune, Frédéric Touzellier, at the announcement of the news, while around his commune the ballet of the water bombers continued, above flames still alive.
In the late afternoon, 530 firefighters and a hundred gendarmes were mobilised throughout the Gard department, around the municipalities of Vauvert (115 hectares) and Montignargues (11 hectares). But the bulk of the troops were deployed in Générac, with 410 firefighters, 140 land vehicles and 4 Canadairs facing a 900-metre fire front, with 180 hectares affected.
According to Eric Maurel, the prosecutor of Nimes, the first fire in Générac, which began Tuesday, was probably of criminal origin.