Friday, January 24, 2020

Australia fires: US crew killed in air tanker crash identified

Three US firefighters who died when their air tanker crashed while battling blazes in Australia have been identified.

Captain Ian McBeth, 45, first officer Paul Clyde Hudson, 43, and flight engineer Rick A DeMorgan Jr, 44, were killed in New South Wales on Thursday.

The cause of the C-130 Hercules crash is not yet known.

New South Wales (NSW) Premier Gladys Berejiklian called it an "unbelievable loss" and offered a state memorial.


Officials lost contact with the plane, owned by Canadian firefighting company Coulson Aviation, shortly before 13:30 local time (02:30 GMT).

It crashed in an active fire zone in the Snowy Mountains, south of Canberra, said the NSW Rural Fire Service.

Since September, Australia has battled a bushfire crisis which has now killed at least 33 people. More than 70 bushfires are still raging across NSW alone.

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