This is one sad twist of fate.
Darrell Ward, one of the stars of History Channel‘s hit show Ice Road Truckers, has died after a plane crash Sunday afternoon in Montana.
Oddly, the 52-year-old was on his way to begin filming a documentary about the recovery of plane wreckage.
Missoula County (MT) authorities report that a Cessna 182 trying to land at a local airport crashed ahead of the runway. Both Ward, who was later identified as the pilot, and his co-pilot were killed in the crash.
Officials with the National Transportation Safety Board arrived today from Seattle to investigate the crash, which took place right on the side of Interstate 90 just next to Rock Creek Airstrip, a few miles southeast of Missoula, Montana.
The aftermath, including its extremely close proximity to the busy interstate highway, was noted by local news station KPAX (below):
Deputy Ryan Dunster told the media that, because of Ward’s celebrity status on the TV show, people in the area ought to be mindful of the investigation (below):
“We just ask that onlookers don’t come out to look, we don’t want to cause anymore accidents or anything like that. There’s going to be one lane open and we’re not going to allow anyone to stop, so just wait for the news as we get it.”
Ward’s team released a statement on the trucker’s Facebook page, confirming his death and making note that Ward was actually in the process of filming a show about the recovery of plane crashes when the incident occurred:
“It’s with great sadness to report we have lost our Montana Legend at the young age of 52. Darrell Ward had just left The Great American Truck Show in Dallas, Texas where he enjoyed meeting numerous fans and friends and was heading to Missoula to begin filming a pilot for his new documentary style show involving the recovery of plane wrecks when he and his co-pilot crashed and lost their lives. An investigation is ongoing and more information will be made available at a later time as the National Transportation Safety Board will be handling they investigation.”
Additionally, the statement memorialized Ward while indicating he would have been back on the next season of Ice Road Truckers set to tape next winter (below):
“Darrell Ward rose to fame with his role on the extremely popular History Channel’s reality show, Ice Road Truckers. Darrell just finished filming Season X earlier this year for the show and had just learned that he had a green light this past weekend for an additional season on the show originally slated to begin filming in the winter of 2017. When Darrell wasn’t hitting the Ice Roads he would be back in Montana doing what Darrel loved best as a log hauler and occasionally helped local authorities fight forest fires.
Trucking has always been a large part of Darrell’s life; from running the harvest rigs with his grandparents and family, to driving trucks from Montana to Alaska and all roads in between. In his free time, you could usually find Darrell giving back to the community any chance he got, he had promoted the most recent food drive to help victims in the Louisiana Floods and was scheduled to appear as the grand marshal for the Truck Convoy for Special Olympics in Nova Scotia.
In his free time, Darrell enjoyed hunting, fishing, camping, dirt bike riding and all things outdoors. A self-proclaimed ‘ADRENALINE JUNKIE,’ Darrell was up for any adventure. His motto, ‘ANY ROAD, ANY LOAD’ fits his personality perfectly.”
So, so sad.
If you’ve never seen IRT, here’s a little bit of what Darrell’s dangerous job entailed (below):
Hard, stressful work.