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Heath Jeffrey Van Handel


Pilot Van Handel was conducting aerial reconnaissance of a wildland fire in Wood County in a Cessna 337 aircraft. He circled the fire area three times and then the aircraft crashed. Pilot Van Handel was killed on impact. A National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigation of the crash indicated that the probable cause was a failure to maintain adequate airspeed which resulted in an aerodynamic stall at a low altitude. For additional information about this crash, consult the NTSB Web site at - NTSB identification CEN09FA242.
photo of the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial
Heath Jeffrey Van Handel was honored on the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial in Emmitsburg, Maryland and was included in the USFA’s annual report Firefighter Fatalities in the United States.

Department information

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
P. O. Box 7921
Madison, Wisconsin 53707-7921

Chief: Trent Marty

Age: 36
Rank: Pilot
Classification: Wildland Full-Time
Incident date: April 8, 2009 14:26
Date of death: April 8, 2009
Cause of fatal injury: Vehicle Collision - Includes Aircraft
Nature of fatal injury: Trauma
Activity type: Support
Emergency duty: Yes
Duty type: On-Scene Fire
Fixed property use: Outdoor Property

Last updated: August 17, 2016