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Firefighters will gather to pay their respects to Airtanker Pilot Geoffrey “Craig” Hunt as well as to his family, who was killed Oct. 7 while fighting the Dog Rock Fire near Yosemite in a CalFire S-2T airtanker based at the Hollister Airport. A celebration of Hunt’s life, with full Line of Duty Death fire service honors, will take place Tuesday, Oct. 21, 2014 at 10 a.m. at Church on the Hill, 500 Sands Dr., San Jose.

“We continue to mourn the tragic loss of Craig.” said Chief Ken Pimlott, CalFire director, in a press release. “We know wildland firefighting is an inherently dangerous job, but Craig made the ultimate sacrifice.”

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the pilot’s family during this difficult time,” said Jeff Cavarra, program director for DynCorp International, for which Hunt worked as a contract pilot for CalFire.

Hunt was born Oct.14, 1951 in Richmond, IN. He is survived by his wife, Sally, whom he married in September of 1975, and his two daughters, Nancy Hunt and Sarah Hunt Lauterbach. Hunt served as a U.S. Navy P3 pilot from 1975-1984 and was in the reserves for 20 years. Hunt earned master’s degrees in business and biochemistry and was a chemistry teacher in the off-season at the University of California, Santa Cruz. 

A report by the National Transportation Safety Board said that Hunt’s plane may have struck a tree with its wing prior to the fatal crash.

Pimlott called the wildland firefighting environment “a challenging one, both on the ground and in the air. We look forward to the final NTSB report to see if we can use the findings to help mitigate the inherent danger of the job. We owe that to Craig, who traded his life in an effort to protect the lives of others.”

Click here to read the initial BenitoLink story on the crash.