//three American firefighters killed in C-130 crash whereas battling Australian wildfires

three American firefighters killed in C-130 crash whereas battling Australian wildfires

Three American firefighters died in a water tanker plane crash Thursday whereas battling wildfires in Australia, New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian confirmed.

Rural Hearth Service officers mentioned that they had situated the aircraft, a C-130 Hercules, that crashed within the Snowy Monaro area of New South Wales state.

Coulson Aviation in Oregon mentioned in an announcement that one in all its C-130 Lockheed massive air tankers was misplaced after it left Richmond in New South Wales with retardant for a firebombing mission. It mentioned the accident was “in depth” however had few different particulars.

“We’re deeply saddened to substantiate there have been three fatalities,” Coulson’s assertion mentioned. “Our ideas and prayers are with the households of the three crew members onboard.”

Berejiklian additionally gave “heartfelt condolences” to the households and mentioned flags in New South Wales can be flown at half-staff Friday.

Coulson grounded different firefighting plane as a precaution pending investigation, lowering planes out there to firefighters in New South Wales and neighboring Victoria state. The four-propeller Hercules drops greater than 15,000 liters (4,000 gallons) of fireplace retardant in a single move.

The aircraft crash raises the dying toll from the fires to at the very least 31 since September.

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The victims haven’t been recognized.

“The one factor I’ve from the sphere studies are that the aircraft got here down, it is crashed and there was a big fireball related to that crash,” mentioned Rural Hearth Service Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons. He confirmed that every one three have been U.S. residents.

“There is no indication at this stage of what’s caused the accident,” Fitzsimmons mentioned.

“Unfortunately, all we’ve been able to do is locate the wreckage and the crash site and we have not been able to locate any survivors,” he mentioned.

Australian Transport Security Bureau, the nationwide air crash investigator, and state police will examine the crash website, which firefighters described as an energetic fireplace floor.

Additionally Thursday, Canberra Airport closed due to close by wildfires, and residents south of Australia’s capital have been instructed to hunt shelter.

The blaze began Wednesday however robust winds and excessive temperatures induced situations in Canberra to deteriorate. A second fireplace close to the airport that began on Thursday morning is at a “watch and act” stage.

“Arrivals and departures are affected due to aviation firefighting operations,” the airport authority mentioned in a tweet.

One other tweet from visitors police mentioned “the fire is moving fast and there are multiple road closures in the area. Please avoid the area. Local road blocks in place.”

Firefighters battle the Morton Fire as it consumes a home near Bundanoon, New South Wales, Australia, Thursday, Jan. 23, 2020. (AP Photo (AP Photo/Noah Berger)

Firefighters battle the Morton Hearth because it consumes a house close to Bundanoon, New South Wales, Australia, Thursday, Jan. 23, 2020. (AP Photograph (AP Photograph/Noah Berger)

Residents in some Canberra suburbs have been suggested to hunt shelter and others to go away instantly.

“The defense force is both assisting to a degree and looking to whether that needs to be reinforced,” Protection Minister Angus Campbell instructed reporters.

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“I have people who are both involved as persons who need to be moved from areas and office buildings that are potentially in danger, and also those persons who are part of the (Operation) Bushfire Assist effort,” he mentioned.

The Related Press contributed to this report.