Neptune P-2 air tanker down at Reno Stead Airport . . .

A firefighting air tanker crashed on takeoff Monday night in Reno, killing three crew members.

It happened just after 6pm Monday. The air tanker was taking off from Reno-Stead airport when witnesses say the plane appeared to lose a piece of its engine or wing, crashing about a half mile from the airport.

The twin-engine P2V air tanker is owned by Neptune Aviation of Missoula, Montana. It had been fighting a wildfire that had forced evacuations over the weekend near Hope Valley, south of Lake Tahoe.

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