Three dead after large air tanker crashes while fighting NSW fires

Three dead after large air tanker crashes while fighting NSW fires

Three dead after large air tanker crashes while fighting NSW fires

The American tanker plane that crashed while fighting Australian wildfires had just dropped a load of retardant on a fire before it went down in New South Wales state, investigators said Friday.

Coulson is a private company that helps battle fires around the globe.

"On behalf of all British Columbians, I extend our deepest sympathies to the families and friends of the flight crew and to the staff of Coulson Aviation", Donaldson said.

McBeth, who is survived by his wife and three children, also served with the Montana and Wyoming National Guard, the company said.

First Officer Paul Hudson, from Buckeye, Arizona, spent 20 years in the United States Marine Corp.

Naval Academy; and DeMorgan served 18 years in the U.S.

"There is no indication at this stage of what caused the accident".

"We can't thank enough people who continue, notwithstanding the conditions, to put their safety at risk to protect lives and property of others", said Fitzsimmons.

Coulson Aviation of Portland released this statement.

"Deeply saddened to learn of the death of 3 people in the crash of a C130 fire fighting aircraft, north east of Cooma in NSW earlier today", tweeted Morrison.

Fitzsimmons said all three aboard the airplane were USA residents, but he declined to name them pending notification of the families.

The state's Premier Gladys Berejiklian expressed her condolences to the families of the three crew members, who were flown in as part of an global assistance effort to fight the devastating wildfires.

"We will forever be indebted to the enormous contribution and indeed the ultimate sacrifice that's been paid as a result of these extraordinary individuals doing a remarkable job", NSW Rural Fire Service Comm. Shane Fitzsimmons said on Friday.

New South Wales Deputy Premier John Barilaro said the volunteers were going above and beyond.

It comes after Moruya was thrashed by fires on Thursday, with as many as 10 homes lost in the town's western outskirts.

The NSW Rural Fire Service confirmed they're investigating reports of a serious incident involving an aircraft in Southern NSW this afternoon.

Australia's Melbourne-based Bureau of Meteorology warned that despite recent rainfall, which brought reliefto some areas scorched since Christmas, "damaging winds" were again driving up the fire danger in some regions. The airport reopened after several hours with Qantas operating limited services, but Virgin and Singapore Airlines cancelled flights for the rest of the day.

The big picture: Fitzsimmons said the fire some 70 miles south of the nation's capital, Canberra, was one of more than 80 burning in the state, some out of control.

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