PHOENIX - The sky glowed red as thick smoke choked out the sun as static communications over the radio captured the final chaotic and confusing moments before 19 members of an elite firefighting crew died in an inferno in the mountains of Arizona.
The dramatic scene and spotty radio communications were captured on video from the helmet camera of a firefighter with another crew on June 30 in the minutes before the Granite Mountain Hotshots crew deployed their emergency shelters and died in the fast-moving wildfire about 90 miles northwest of Phoenix.
The video, along with thousands of pages of documents, including text messages and photos taken by other fire crews and some from the Granite Mountain team before their deaths, were released last week by the Arizona State Forestry Division.
The nearly eight-minute video shows thick smoke surrounding another fire crew as someone with the Granite Mountain Hotshots crew can be heard yelling frantically on the radio.
"OK Granite Mountain 7 sounds like they got some trouble, uh, go ahead and get that, he's trying to get you on the radio, let's go ahead and see what we've going on," another firefighter can be heard saying.
At one point, it appears clear no one knew exactly where the crew was.
"Is Granite still in there?" a firefighter can be heard asking a colleague on the video.
"Well, they're in a safety zone," another replied.
Less than two minutes later, someone with the Granite Mountain crew chimes back in on the radio.
"Our escape route has been cut off. We are preparing a deployment site and we are burned out around ourselves in the brush and I'll give you a call when we are under the ... shelters," the person said.