Memorial services have been scheduled for Geoffrey “Craig” Hunt, a pilot who died in the crash of an airtanker while fighting a forest fire in Yosemite earlier this month.
Firefighters with their firefighting rigs are to attend the services set for 10 a.m. Tuesday at the Church on the Hill, 500 Sands Drive in San Jose.
Hunt, 62, was fighting the Dog Rock fire Oct. 7 when his Calfire airtanker crashed.
“My dad died a hero,” said a daughter, Sarah Hunt Lauterbach. “There was not a day that went by that I didn't talk to my dad. He was my best friend.”.
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Hunt was born October 14, 1951 in Richmond, Ind. He served as a Navy P3 pilot from 1975-1984 and was in the reserves for 20 years. Hunt earned a Masters degree in Business from the University of Southern California and a Masters in Biochemistry from the University of Santa Cruz.
He taught chemistry at the University of Santa Cruz, according to Calfire. Hunt had a love for flying, golfing, fishing, hiking, bird watching, scuba diving, teaching and dogs.
In addition to his daughter, Sarah Lauterbach, he is survived by another daughter Nancy Hunt and his wife of 39 years, Sally.
“We continue to mourn the tragic loss of Craig,” said Ken Pimlott, Calfire director. “We know wildland firefighting is an inherently dangerous job, but Craig made the ultimate sacrifice.”
A preliminary report from federal safety transportation authorities says the airtanker may have clipped a tree prior to crashing. According to the report, “the crew of the controller airplane reported the accident plane may have struck a tree with its wing, which separated from the airplane.”
Hunt, a San Jose resident, was a veteran pilot of DynCorp International and flew the air tanker under a contract with the state.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the pilot’s family during this difficult time,” said Jeff Cavarra, program director for DynCorp International.
Call The Bee’s Bill Lindelof, (916) 321-1079.