Incident Name: Betty Fire, Sequoia NF/Inyo NF, Mt Whitney Ranger District
Personnel: 3 lives lost
Agency/Organization: helicopter owned by Quality Helicopter Service from Van Nuys CA under contract with the US Forest service
Robert T Gilbreath, 35, pilot, owner
Harold L Barnes, 41, FS Fire Control Aid stationed at Kennedy Meadows
Samuel R. Ready, 31, with the Forest Service from the Sequoia National Forest
On 7/2/61 the G3B Bell Helicopter which was owned and piloted by Robert T. Gilbreath went missing while flying a lightning fire reconnaisance mission for the US Forest Service. Its wreckage was found the next day. No one on the helicopter survived.
Probable Betty Fire, 1961
- Forest Service: Betty Fire Report and announcement of the loss of the helicopter (1.76 MB pdf)
- Brief note in the Historical Wildland Firefighter Fatalities 1910-1996 (p 3)
1961; Sequoia NF, CA, Cannell Mdw RD; 3 USFS Unknown fire behavior; Helicopter crash (Bell 3-GB). Ship on reconaissance of fire, returned to base due to lack of fuel.
- This incident is not in the NTSB database.
- Research: Theysaid 12/8/11 and scroll up
Contributors to this article: Maribel Moreno, Brent Skaggs, Steve Phillips, Rick Messier, and Nancy Marsh, the librarian in Bishop CA who looked up Sam Ready's name in the Inyo Register.
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