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Helicopter pilot killed in Coalinga crash identified

Posted at 12:25 PM, Aug 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-20 20:56:40-04

COALINGA, Calif. — The helicopter pilot who died in a crash while fighting a wildfire in Coalinga has been identified.

The Fresno County Coroner's Office confirmed the pilot was 52-year old, michael john fournier, who lived in Rancho Cucamonga.

According to Fresno County Sheriff's Office officials -- Fournier was killed while making water drops over the wildfire on Wednesday. He was the only person on board.

The Bell UH-1 Helicopter crashed under unknown circumstances 11 miles south of the New Coalinga Municipal Airport in Coalinga around 10 a.m. Wednesday.

The crash sparked what Cal Fire calls an incident within an incident: A new 50-acre blaze that later merged into the Hill Fire, which has now charred 15-hundred acres 9 miles south of Coalinga. It is 35% contained.

The FAA and National Transportation Safety Board is investigating