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Incident Name: TA-25
Date: 04/15/08 1820 hrs
Personnel: Gert H. “Jerry” Marais
Age: 42
Agency/Organization: Aero Applicators under contract with the Colorado State Forest Service, Colorado
Position: Pilot

Summary: Pilot Jerry Marais was operating an Air Tractor 602 single engine air tanker (SEAT) on the TA-25 fire near Fort Carson, Colorado . He had initially declined the mission due to weather and terrain conditions, but then agreed to proceed to the scene to evaluate conditions.

Upon arriving at the fire, the pilot tried a dry run in the area where a drop had been requested. The winds and turbulence were too strong so another drop location was designated. Jerry made the drop as requested, but the aircraft stalled and crashed.

photo credit Aero Applicators, Inc.

Jerry Marais Jerry Marais

Jerry Marias Jerry Marias

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Aircraft final resting place

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Reports, Documentation, Lessons Learned

  • Concise Information from the NTSB, FAA, USFS, AAP, and research by the WLF Staff:
    • April 15, 2008 - SEAT accident
    • 1 killed: Jerry Marais
    • Aero Applicators under contract with the Colorado State Forest Service
    • Air Tractor AT-602
    • impacted terrain following a stall during gusty wind conditions near Fort Carson, CO
    • Registration tail number: N602AA
    • NTSB # DEN08GA076
  • National Transportation Safety Board: Factual Report (100 K pdf)
  • National Transportation Safety Board: Probable Cause (html) Probable Cause (232 K pdf)

    The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) determined that the probable cause(s) of this accident were as follows: The pilot’s failure to maintain aircraft control following the jettison of the load during an aerial firefighting mission, which resulted in an inadvertent stall and impact with terrain. Contributing to the accident were the improperly configured aircraft for the flight, the gusty wind conditions, and the pressure to complete the mission.

  • NTSB: Full Narrative (html)
  • For additional information about this crash, consult the NTSB Query Webpage, NTSB identification # DEN08GA076.
  • USFA Memorial Database: Gert H "Jerry" Marais

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Hotlist Links:


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Media Articles and Reports.

  • Obituary ( Info provided by his family)

    Gert H. "Jerry" Marais

    Gert H. "Jerry" Marais, 42, of Fort Benton, died Tuesday (4/15) when the firefighting plane he was flying crashed near Fort Carson Army Base in Colorado.

    Visitation is 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday at Benton Funeral Home and one hour prior to the 11 a.m. service Friday at the Agricultural Center in Fort Benton. Interment will be in Riverside Cemetery.

    Surviving are his wife, Esme Marais; his sons, Chris Marais (19), Jerry Marais Jr. (17), his daughter Leandra Marais (12), and his son Nicholas Marais (5); his father, Christoffel "Tol" Marais; his mother, Mariette Marais; his sister, Ansi Daffie and his brother-in-law Dries Daffie; two nieces, Mariette Daffie (15) and Danielle Daffie (12); his brother, who still lives in South Africa, Jacques Marais and his wife Theresa Marais; his two nephews, Naas Marais (9), Jacques Marais Jr. (6); and his niece Therese Marais (3). There are family and friends too numerous to name, but all very dear to him.

    Jerry was born Jan. 1, 1966, in Bloemfontein, South Africa. He grew up in South Africa and lived there for most of his working life. He was born with a passion for flying and life itself. He worked as a pilot in many different places and touched the hearts of many along his way.


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Photos, Videos, & Tributes

  • Footage of the Ft Collins Fire (TA 25) and SEAT Crash from the Denver Channel: Photo Slideshow


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Contributors to this article:  Mellie

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