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Pilot survives Fire Boss plane crash in northeast Washington

A pilot flying a small firefighting plane over the Horns Mountain fire in Stevens County just below the Canadian border.

A pilot flying a small firefighting plane over the Horns Mountain fire in Stevens County survived a crash Tuesday afternoon.

Washington Department of Natural Resources officials said the crash happened at about 2 p.m. Tuesday just north of Kettle Falls.

Officials from Air Spray USA, Inc, the company the aircraft, said the plane experienced engine failure during a water-drop mission.

The pilot was in route with two other Fire Boss planes to drop water on teh Horns Mountain fire when the pilot reportedly started experiencing issues with the plane. The pilot was forced to pull out formation and officials said he issued a "MayDay" call asking for immediate help.

The pilot had to make a forced landing among timber on a logging road. The plane did not catch fire and the pilot was able to exit the plane on his own and did not need to be hospitalized.

One of the pilots flying in the water-drop mission said the pilot who crash did not appear to do anything that would have caused engine failure.

Officials are still investigating the crash.

The pilot is one of five Fire Boss pilots dropping water on the Horns Mountain fire. The fire is burning more than 350 acres 12 miles north of Northport as of Tuesday morning. FireBoss tankers are dropping fire retardant and water on the flames from nearby lakes and rivers. Currently, 229 firefighters and support personnel are assigned to these fires.

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This is a developing story.

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