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Incident Name: Sequoia National Forest Lightning Fires
Date: September 18, 1975, 0932 hours
Personnel: 3 lives lost
Age: 
Agency/Organization: Porterville Aviation under contract with the US Forest Service
Position: 

Summary:

Billy Tom Fergeson, pilot, 44, only his first or second trip into the mountains
Jeannette M Margot, 23, FS Fire Recon Specialist
Simeon Hayner Bornt, III, 28, from the Hot Springs Ranger District

On September 18, 1975, Recon 13 left Porterville with three aboard. Pilot was Billy Tom Fergeson. Jeannette Margot was the assigned Recon Specialist on board to fly reconnaissance on lightning fires on the Sequoia National Forest. Simm Bornt was an observer who had just transferred to the SQF and was flying this recon as his orientation to the forest. With low visibility and high obstructions the plane flew into an obscured mountain canyon, collided with trees and impacted the ground, killing all three passengers. Helicopter 22, based at Peppermint, with Ruben Lopez, Helitack Foreman, was first on scene and verified that all souls were lost.

 

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Maps

Jack Lee: just south of Sheep Mountain on the Tule River RD

Here's Sheep Mountain, Tule River Ranger District, Sequoia NF

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Reports, Documentation, Lessons Learned

  • Concise Information from the NTSB, FAA, AAP, USFS and research by the WLF Staff:
    • September 18, 1975, Recon 13
    • 3 killed: Billy Tom Fergeson-pilot, Simm Bornt, Jeannette Margot
    • Operator: Porterville Aviation under contract with the US Forest Service
    • Type: Cessna 182
    • Location: near Porterville, CA
    • FAA Registration # N58683
    • NTSB # OAK75AP010

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Wildlandfire.com Links:

 

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Media Articles and Reports

 

 

 

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Photos, Videos, & Tributes

 

 

 

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Contributors to this article: Bill Bruno for bringing it to our attention; Robert Forbes; Jack Lee; Anne Adams

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