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Authorities were searching for an airtanker last seen flying over a fire near Yosemite National Park after contact was lost with the plane today.
"Emergency personnel are currently responding to the last known location of the aircraft," the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said in a statement. "The airtanker was assigned to the Dog Rock Fire burning near Yosemite's Arch Rock."
The status of the aircraft and the pilot have not been determined, the agency said.
An airtanker crashed as crews battled a new, rapidly spreading northern California wildfire Tuesday afternoon, and there was no word on the pilot's condition, state fire officials said. All airtankers were grounded immediately after the plane disappeared while flying over the Dog Rock Fire near the Arch Rock in Yosemite National Park, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said.
The S2 tanker went down disappeared about 4:26 p.m. (7:26 p.m. ET), less than two hours after the fire started. It rapidly grew to 130 acres in just a couple of hours, forcing the evacuation of about 60 homes in the nearby community of Foresta, CalFire said. El Portal Road, also known as State Highway 140, was closed and wasn't expected to reopen any time soon, CalFire said.
Air Tankers are usually older aircraft, that go into places where normal planes don't, suffering stresses that a normal plane will never see.