A helicopter pilot who was helping to battle the Polles Fire was killed on when his aircraft went down in the Payson area on Tuesday. Members of the community mourn the loss of a hero and family member. The cause of the crash is still under investigation.
ABC News in Phoenix reports that 37-year-old Brian (BJ) Boatman was a part of the firefighting efforts to battle the blaze that has already consumed more than 580 acres west of Payson. The dangerous fire is 0 percent contained. Boatman was flying supplies into the area and was the only person aboard the helicopter when it went down.
Boatman was employed by Air West, located in Glendale. Rod Hepburn, coworker and friend of Boatman spoke to reporters about the incident.
“I was hoping and hoping and hoping that they would find him alive,” Hepburn said. “It’s a dangerous job, and it takes a certain kind of a person to sign up for that kind of duty and know that you are in harm’s way all the time. They call them heroes, and they are.”
Brian Boatman ‘s body was recovered from the scene of the crash. His wife and an 8-year-old child survive him.
In honor of Boatman’s bravery and sacrifice to the state of Arizona and it’s citizens, Governor Ducey has ordered all flags on government buildings in the state to be flown at half-staff on Wednesday, July 8th.
The Zanes Law Firm would like to express our deepest condolences to the family, friends, and fellow firefighters of Bryan Boatman.