Why are flags at half-staff today, July 18-19, 2020
Gov. Ducey orders flags at half-staff to honor Congressman Lewis, helicopter pilot
In coordination with President Donald Trump’s proclamation, Gov. Doug Ducey has ordered flags at all state buildings be lowered to half-staff immediately in remembrance of U.S. Congressman John Lewis.
Flags will remain lowered through sunset Sunday, July 19, for the interment of helicopter pilot Bryan Boatman, who was killed July 8 in a helicopter crash while helping firefighters contain the Polles Fire on the Tonto National Forest in Gila County.
Lewis, a lion of the civil rights movement whose bloody beating by Alabama state troopers in 1965 helped galvanize opposition to racial segregation, and who went on to a long and celebrated career in Congress, died Friday, July 17. He was 80.
For Boatman, the crash that killed him occurred under unknown circumstances, officials said. The identity of the Glendale pilot was provided by Gila County Sheriff Adam Shepherd and other officials.
Boatman, 37, was the only person aboard the Bell UH-1H helicopter that went down about 10 miles west of Payson in the Tonto National Forest, said Ian Gregor, a Federal Aviation Administration spokesman.
The FAA and National Transportation Board are investigating the crash and the NTSB will try to determine a probable cause.
Boatman was working to supply firefighters on the ground and was employed by Glendale-based Airwest Helicopters, Shepherd said.
He is survived by his wife and an 8-year-old child, Ducey said Tuesday night.
Fire officials said the area is only accessible by helicopter and that crews have been sleeping in the wilderness with food, drinking water and supplies flown in daily by helicopter.
Individuals, businesses, and other organizations are encouraged to join in this tribute.
Information provided by the Arizona Department of Administration and the Associated Press.
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