Photo courtesy of CAL FIRE
The IAM is mourning the loss of California Local 946 member and Dyncorp pilot Geoffrey “Craig” Hunt who was killed in a crash in Yosemite National Park while flying a CAL FIRE S-2T Airtanker. Hunt was helping fight the Dog Rock Fire that was threatening dozens of homes in the nearby community of Foresta.
Hunt was a dedicated pilot who worked for CAL FIRE through a Dyncorp contract with the state agency. The twin turbine engine airtanker Hunt was piloting is routinely flown by a single pilot and can carry 1,200 gallons of retardant.
“We know wildland firefighting is an inherently dangerous job,” said CAL FIRE director Ken Pimlott, “but Craig made the ultimate sacrifice.”
The crash occurred in the afternoon of October 7 and California Gov. Jerry Brown ordered Capitol flags to be flown at half-staff in Hunt’s honor.
“Airtanker pilots selflessly put their lives at risk to fight fires that threaten lives, communities and property,” said IAM Western Territory General Vice President Gary Allen. “Brother Hunt gave his life for others and our hearts go out to his family and co-workers as we mourn his loss.”
Hunt served in the U.S. Navy as a P-3 pilot and was also in the reserves for 20 years. He earned a master’s degree in business from the University of Southern California and a master’s in biochemistry from UC Santa Cruz where he taught chemistry in the off-season.
“My dad died a hero. There was not a day that went by that I didn’t talk to my dad. He was my best friend,” said his daughter Sarah Hunt Lauterbach.