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Plane carrying fuel catches fire, pilot attempts return before crash

One of the two pilots of a vintage military plane delivering heating oil to a remote Alaska Native village reported a fire onboard before the crash outside Fairbanks, killing both pilots. The aircraft burst into flames after hitting a hill and sliding down to the bank of the Tanana River. Recovery efforts continue with cadaver dogs, as the pilots’ names have not been released. The plane departed with 3,200 gallons of heating oil for Kobuk village before crashing. Witnesses heard explosions and saw the burning plane, with video footage showing an engine exploding. The crashed aircraft was a C54D-DC Skymaster plane carrying heating oil and aviation fuel, vital for rural Alaskan communities due to limited access. The aircraft was originally a military version of the Douglas DC-4, serving in the Berlin Airlift of 1948 before ownership by various companies, with the latest being Alaska Air Fuel from 2013. The NTSB is investigating the crash with three investigators on-site in Wasilla.


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