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Narrative: The crew of a firefighting Lockheed SP-2H Neptune (Air Tanker mod.) N355MA, coded "55", reported it was unable to lower its left main landing gear and force landed at Minden-Tahoe Airport, KMEV in western Nevada. That crew had been helping with efforts to fight the George Fire within the Giant Sequoia National Monument in California when the crew experienced problems with the aircraft. The tanker had been reloading with retardant at Porterville, California, but the pilot decided to fly to the company’s base in Minden, Nevada to attempt to land. After arriving in the vicinity of the Minden airport they circled for 90 minutes in order to burn off fuel.
The aircraft sustained relative minor damage, but both crew members escaped injury.