Darrell Ward, the beloved star of reality series ‘Ice Road Truckers’, has tragically died at the age of 52 in a horrific, fiery plane crash. The accident on August 29 also took the life of Darrell’s copilot, Mark Melotz.
Darrell Ward, 52, took off from Dallas, Texas on August 29, and was en route with his co-pilot, Mark Melotz, to Missoula, Montana when their plane crashed and burst into flames. They were tragically going to Montana to film a documentary-style series about the recovery of plane wrecks.
Their plane crashed as it was making its approach at the Rock Creek Airport; the cause of the accident is unknown at this time, and is under investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board, according to Missoula County Sheriff’s Deputy Ryan Dunster. The crash was so severe that emergency crews on the scene could not identify their bodies as they fought through the fire.
An official statement regarding the Ice Road Truckers star’s death was released on his Facebook page that Sunday:
Missoula County Sheriff’s Department Patrol Captain Bill Burt reported that the plane appeared to stall as it was landing on the south end of the runway, and the pilots were unable to gain control; their Cessna 182-D aircraft crashed on the edge of interstate. He released a sorrowful statement regarding their shocking deaths:
“Darrell and Mark Melotz were aboard the plane that crashed in Rock Creek, Montana. At this time we don’t know what caused the plane to crash but the FAA and NTSB are on scene conducting an investigation. Both families have been notified and both bodies have been transported to the medical examiners office. There was a fire with the crash and we were unable to identify the bodies on scene and were waiting on the ME’s office to positively identify the bodies through dental records.”
Producers Karen Wookey and Martin Katz of Prospo Pictures, which produces Ice Road Truckers, told HollywoodLife.com EXCLUSIVELY: “Darrell was a force of nature who lived for adrenaline. He was an incredibly enthusiastic and integral member of the IRT family. He thrived at the wheel of a big machine. It’s sad and shocking news to lose someone so quickly so young. We are deeply saddened.”
Darrell leaves behind two children, a son and daughter, as well as grandchildren. His daughter Terra posted a statement about his death on Facebook. This story is still developing. We will keep you updated on any new information.
HollywoodLifers, our thoughts are with Darrell’s family during this difficult time.