Darrell Ward, a featured driver on History’s Ice Road Truckers since 2012, has died in a plane crash near Missoula, MT. He was 52. The Missoula County Sheriff’s Office Ward was piloting a single-engine Cessna 182 when it crashed on approach to Rock Creek Airport. He was en route to filming the pilot for a documentary-style show involving the recovery of plane wrecks. His co-pilot, who was not immediately identified, also was killed.
The plane crashed into the south side shoulder of the eastbound lanes of Interstate 90 near the Rock Creek exit and then caught fire. It had taken off from Dallas, where the pair had attended the Great American Truck Show. The National Transportation Safety Board is handling the investigation.
Ward joined Ice Road Truckers for Season 6 in 2012 and had remained with the reality show since. The show’s producers wrote in a Facebook post announcing Ward’s death that he had wrapped filming on Season 10 earlier this year and had just learned that he had a green light for an additional season on IRT originally slated to begin filming in the winter of 2017.
Launched in 2007, Ice Road Truckers follows long-haul drivers who operate trucks on seasonal routes crossing frozen lakes and rivers in remote Arctic territories in Canada and Alaska. Ward quickly became a fan favorite for his fearlessness on the treacherous routes and his compassion in helping other drivers, including his rivals.
“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,” the Facebook post reads. “His motto ‘Any road, any load’ fits his personality perfectly.”
The post also noted that Ward promoted a food drive to help Louisiana flood victims, occasionally helped local authorities fight forest fires and was scheduled to appear as the grand marshal for the Truck Convoy for Special Olympics in Nova Scotia. It said he considered himself an “adrenaline junkie” who enjoyed hunting, fishing, camping, dirt bike riding and “all things outdoors.”
Funeral arrangements are pending.